Stephen Davis has always been an easy target for schoolyard bullies.
The 15-year-old freshman at Streamwood High School in Elgin, Illinois, has been the brunt of cruel jokes and pranks since he was in first grade. At 330 lbs., he’s often ridiculed for his size.
“I’m big,” Davis told CBS Chicago. “I get bullied a lot during the school day. I shake it off. Basically, it’s background noise to me.”
So Davis wasn’t too surprised Thursday when another student sketched a buck-toothed, bug-eyed cartoon of him on the electronic whiteboard in his math class.
But then, things took a shocking turn when the substitute teacher began adding to the picture. Stunned, Davis pulled out his phone and started filming. The teacher drew antennae and other embellishments on the sketch and labeled the picture “Stepen.” Realizing that he had misspelled the name, the teacher erased it and wrote, “Stephen’s ugly ass.”
For the next minute, the teacher and classmates bantered about the picture. “It looks just like Stephen,” one student shouted.
“I was absolutely livid,” Davis said. “This is the first time a teacher has actually done it.”
That night, Stephen’s sister, Brianna, uploaded the video to Facebook.
“My brother came home from school today to show my family this video of not only a student in his class, but THE TEACHER taking time out of the period to make fun of him,” she wrote. “They say they have a ZERO TOLERANCE policy for things like this. How can he call himself a teacher? He is supposed to set the example.”
Faced with the video evidence, the school district quickly suspended the teacher and began an investigation into what happened.
On Friday, School District U-46 Superintendent Tony Sanders issued a statement on Facebook.
“I want to assure our parents that we are aware of the video that is circulating allegedly showing a substitute teacher bullying a student at Streamwood High,” he wrote. “Immediate and appropriate action was taken early this morning pending the outcome of our investigation.”
Davis said he’s “embarrassed” by the bullying. “Everyone was standing there, pointing at me, laughing, [while] I’m on the verge of tears,” he told The Daily Herald. [The teacher] should not be around children if he’s going to do this to someone. This is unimaginable.”