via The Sun Herald:
The story of a Pascagoula mother’s campaign for justice is being read around the world.
In the meantime, city police are investigating the playground incident, the school system has interviewed four adult witnesses and the superintendent is declining interviews until both investigations are complete.
The story began when 5-year-old AvaLynn Harris, a kindergartner, returned home from school Aug. 26 with a swollen, bruised and cut face from injuries she received on the playground of Arlington Elementary.
Her mother posted photos on a Facebook page called JusticeforAvaLynn, saying her daughter was “kicked repeatedly in the face until she fell off the slide.” She set up an online account for AvaLynn’s medical expenses and her own lost wages.
The Facebook page had more than 87,000 likes by Tuesday afternoon and the GoFundMe.com site, with 4,600 shares, had almost reached its goal of $10,000 on Tuesday night.
People expressed concerns such as a lack of police involvement and the possibility of bullying going unpunished.
Mom Lacey Harris filed a police report Aug. 28 that stated she believed another child in AvaLynn’s class had assaulted her.
Police Chief Kenny Johnson said contrary to earlier reports police are investigating.
But based on what Harris said in the police report, “it wouldn’t be a criminal investigation,” Johnson said. “If a 5-year-old injures another 5-year-old, that’s not a criminal act.”
He said officials are working to determine what happened and if an adult was involved. But he said, “There is nothing indicating an adult was involved in the actual injuries.”
He said the state Department of Human Services is participating in the investigation and will be doing comprehensive follow-up interviews.
The Pascagoula School District confirmed a child was injured on playground equipment, but said Tuesday no other children were involved.
It said the matter has been turned over to its insurance company “for further handling.”
The school district said it interviewed four adults who were present at the time to determine that AvaLynn wasn’t kicked on a slide.
Debbie Anglin, Pascagoula schools spokeswoman, said the schools have security cameras, but there are no cameras on the playgrounds. Pascagoula residents have started a petition to address that issue.
Anglin did not dispute the incident happened on the playground, and said, “The parent was contacted and the student received medical treatment.”
See the original story here: Avalynn Harris Beaten & Kicked, School Determines She Injured HERSELF!
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