With only three days left in the school year, eighth grader Jace Melendez should have been focusing on finals and his future high school, but instead he has had to deal with name calling and nasty comments from his teacher. He says this year has been somewhat of a challenge, but not because of homework or grades.
“It’s had its ups and downs but recently I’ve had trouble with one of my teachers. It’s like she has slowly become more of a bully to us,” says Melendez.
Melendez is an eighth grader at Riser Middle School in West Monroe. His mom describes him as a vibrant kid with a good heart.
“He’s a really good kid I couldn’t ask for better his heart is so big,” says Betty Rodgers. “He loves the band…the tuba is his favorite and he loves to draw.”
Jace and his mom have been in an ongoing battle with one of his teachers. His mom even went as far as to take him out of that class, but she says it isn’t enough since they still have to see one another in the hallways.
One specific incident made Jace say enough is enough.
“I got on the bus and found out that behind my back she actually called me the next school shooter,” says Melendez.
The news didn’t sit well with his mother. When she found out she says all she felt was, “Anger..absolute anger.”
Jace who suffers from depression says comments like this could really take a toll on a person suffering from the mental illness.
“I’m a kid who suffers from depression and saying something like that I could have…not saying that I was going to…but I could have went home and end up killing myself because of that,” says Melendez.
Rodgers went to the school, the Ouachita Parish School Board, the Department of Children and Family Services, and even saw a lawyer when she felt like she was being given the run around and not taken seriously.
Riser Middle School Principal Rodney Lloyd says the school is currently investigating the incident and has made plans to get to the bottom of it. He plans to sit down with all parties involved and do what is in Jace’s best interest.
“I want to get the two of them to sit down and see what’s best for the child,” says Lloyd.
Rodgers says she just wants to prevent something like this from happening to someone else’s child.
“His little story does need to be told Maybe it will save the next child.”