Two girls were attacked as they walked out of Morton Middle School in Fall River, Massachusetts last week.
Cell phone video of the incident reveals other students clearly knew it was coming, recorded the incident and could even be heard laughing.
"I was very upset," said Kerren Cook, whose daughter was one of the students whacked by classmates. "I have a daughter who struggles with mental illness as it is, who gets bullied on a daily basis."
She posted a letter to the mayor asking that bullying in schools be addressed.
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"As we both know bullying has been around for many, many, many years, and you would think that we’d have a little bit more control over the situation now," she told NBC10 Boston. "But unfortunately we don’t."
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"It is not surprising that we are seeing an increase in problematic behavior on the part of young people as they transition back into school."
Dr. Nadia Ward, who studies adolescent mental health at Clark University’s Mosakowski Institute for Public Enterprise, said there’s been an uptick in bullying incidents as students emerge from the pandemic and are impacted by what she calls "toxic stress."
"It is not surprising that we are seeing an increase in problematic behavior on the part of young people as they transition back into school," said Ward. "Young people have for the past couple of years experienced remarkably high rates of anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation because of social isolation."
Cook hopes those responsible for the attack, as well as those who recorded it, will be held accountable.
"They want the views on TikTok, on Facebook, on Instagram, and don’t realize what it’s doing to the kids that they’re doing it to," said Cook.
The school superintendent did not return a request for comment.
Cook is organizing a community meeting to discuss bullying incidents in April.