Big Bad Bullies: Si'Mone

School Bus Beating
Dr. Phil talks to SiMone about bullies and a fight that was caught on videotape.
Sashemia thought that moving to a better neighborhood meant that her 12-year-old son, Si'Mone, would be able to attend a safer school.


"It's a beautiful school. It kind of looks like a castle. We never thought there'd be a problem there," Sashemia says.


At his new school, Si'Mone was attacked on the school bus by seven boys, some as old as 15. The beating was caught on videotape, and shows the boys pummeling Si'Mone's head as he sits in his seat. As a result of his attack, Si'Mone suffered soft tissue damage and cervical strain.

"When I got up, it felt like I was going to fall down," Si'Mone recalls. " I wanted my mother to be there just at that moment. I don't get how they can be so vicious and cruel hearted. Why would a 15-year-old boy hit a 12-year-old kid who did nothing wrong?"


Sashemia is concerned because her son is quieter and not as happy since the attack. "All I want is for Dr. Phil to help my son understand that he did nothing wrong," says Sashemia. "Things can go back to being OK."

Dr. Phil asks Si'Mone how he's progressing since the attack, which took place on Feb. 4, 2004.


"Emotionally, I'm just trying to make it through," replies Si'Mone. "Physically, my doctor's working on that." He still suffers from double vision and short-term memory loss.


Dr. Phil asks Sashemia how she thinks her son is doing. "Bumps and bruises go away and heal. But there are other things that are wrong that we're still looking in to physically," she responds. "He's gotten a lot more closed. He doesn't want to go out as much."


"From our count and from what we can see, there were seven boys that were hitting you and kicking you and getting all over you. Do you have any idea why?" Dr. Phil asks Si'Mone.


"I didn't even know those students," he answers. "I had classes with them, but I didn't talk with them."


"I have to tell you, when I look at this tape, I am just outraged," Dr. Phil says. "The school wanted you to put him on the bus again the next morning?" he asks Sashemia.


"They informed me that the kids were getting suspended for 45 days, and that it would be no problem whatsoever," she says.

Dr. Phil introduces Jennifer Waugh, a reporter with WJXT in Jacksonville, Florida who broke the story of SiMone's attack. He asks Ms. Waugh how she obtained a copy of the videotape from the beating.


"Well, it took about a day and a half," she recalls. "I first found the police report, which was written by the police officer that works within the school. Just reading through it, clearly there was something to this story. I started immediately trying to get a hold of the tape and talk to Sashemia and Si'Mone. It was very clear to me that we had to see this tape just because, obviously, he had done nothing to provoke this."


"I understand that now the seven boys have been arrested," Dr. Phil clarifies with Ms. Waugh. "One turned himself in. They have been charged with a crime in this regard. The driver was on administrative leave, got retrained and is now back on the job. And you have filed a lawsuit against the school?" he asks Sashemia.


"For more than one reason," she responds. Sashemia believes the school could have done more to prevent Si'Mone's attack. "As for the bus driver, he did absolutely, positively nothing to help my son," she says.

Dr. Phil tells Si'Mone that looking on the bright side of things and doing fun activities are ways to take his mind off of the ordeal. "We wanted to give you some fun things to think about, so we have got you lined up to do a really fun tour over at Universal Studios," he says. "Then when they told me you were a sports fan, I thought it might be really fun for you to go to a Lakers game."


Dr. Phil hands SiMone a Lakers jersey and hat as the audience applauds. He tells Si'Mone and Sashemia that they are both invited to a Lakers game and will be chauffeured there in a limo. He also has more good news for Si'Mone from Shaquille O'Neal.


"[Shaq's] a pretty big guy, but he's a pretty good guy," he tells Si'Mone. "He wanted to see if it would be alright if you would show up for the game a little early and come down and meet with him. He'd like to talk to you and he'd like to sign that jersey for you and he'd like to tell you that if you ever need anybody to watch your back, he's happy to do it."


Si'Mone thanks Dr. Phil.