‘They have robbed him of his joy’: Mother says son is victim of physical abuse from peers at Beauregard Parish School

Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 8:51 PM CST
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Longville, LA (KPLC) -It’s one mother’s worst nightmare as her son became the alleged victim of bullying South Beauregard Junior High.

“I don’t have my son right now, they have robbed him of his joy, his smiles, his sleep at night,” Amanda Cooley said.

Cooley’s 13-year-old son, Malachi, is the latest victim of alleged bullying among his peers.

“Parents are losing their children,” Cooley said. “This is serious. This is way bigger than a football team, this is way bigger than the community clique. It’s so much bigger. I refuse to lose my son.”

A heavy thought from the victim’s mother as she learned of what had traumatized her son. Cooley said she knew something was up and posted to Facebook, but she came to find out the bullying was far worse than she ever imagined.

Cooley explained how her son hid the incident from her for months and it wasn’t until one of his peers came forward and told a parent about what happened.

“My son said to me his exact words: ‘Mom, I couldn’t do anything.’ He said, ‘I just had to stand there. I took my book bag and protected my head, and all I could do was stand there and take the pain as best as I could,’ ” Cooley said.

She explained Malachi endured physical abuse and racial discrimination from members of his junior high football team. She described it happened in the locker room a few months ago where she said her son was cornered and whipped on the back and legs by another student using a large plastic zip tie while calling him the n-word.

According to Cooley, her son is the only biracial player on his football team.

Cooley said this particular incident happened right after football season ended.

“What kid is going to fight back when you have a full football team? What can he do for himself?” Cooley said.

Malachi had welts from the whips along his backside, and Cooley said when she saw the marks on her son and asked him about it that he initially told her they were from working out. She said in the months following, she began to notice changes in her son’s demeanor and personality.

“He refuses to get out of bed,” Cooley said. “He refuses to go to that school and step foot back into that school because he was threatened if he told anyone that he would be beat unconscious.”

Cooley told 7 News her son is terrified to go back to school, where he thinks he could face retaliation from his abusers. However, the school is accommodating by allowing Malachi to participate online and complete classwork at home for the time being.

The Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office was notified about the incident on Monday, Jan. 30, and is investigating the case.

“Any time we receive an allegation of abuse to a child even if it’s from another child or from an adult, this office takes that matter very seriously. And we do our absolute best to fully investigate and to try to determine what happened and to what level that rises to,” Sheriff Mark Herford said.

As for Malachi’s mom, she said she hopes something changes and these kids are held accountable.

“I am crying out for help,” Cooley said. “My son. I want my son back. My son deserved none of this and I just want everybody to know that I will not stop until I have justice for my son.”

Beauregard Parish School Board interim superintendent Larry Hollie released the following statement:

In Beauregard Parish schools, the health, safety, and well-being of each child is of paramount importance. We are working in conjunction with the Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office to investigate the allegations utilizing policies and procedures that pertain to this situation. We take our responsibility to educate all of our students in safe and productive environments with the utmost seriousness. We will release a joint statement with the BPSO once the investigation is complete.