Mom Says She Was Charged With Assault After Defending Her Daughter

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ANKENY, Iowa -- A mother in Ankeny is facing an assault charge after things got physical at her daughter’s school. The mother says she went to the school to confront students that were bullying her daughter.

Morgan Sellers, 14, says she's been the victim of bullying since last fall at Northview Middle School in Ankeny.

“It’s been stressful because I never know what name they’re going to call me each day,” Morgan said. “It makes me feel bad about myself, like I’m not good enough.”

Morgan's mother, 31-year-old Alisha Morton, says she complained to the principal, teachers and superintendent repeatedly, but she was told the situation would be taken care of.

She says it wasn’t.

“For my child to come home and tell me that she wants to die because this child is still doing something that I’ve confronted this school and this superintendent about -- it kills me inside,” Morton said.

That’s when Morton decided to take things into her own hands.

On Monday, Jan. 11, Morton went to the school to confront the student Morgan said was mostly targeting her, a boy in the eighth grade. Another student, a ninth-grade girl stepped in and allegedly threatened Morton.

Morton said she put her hand out to block the student.

“I put one arm out. It’s not like I took two hands and aggressively pushed her,” Morton said.

She said that’s when the student swung at her.

At that point, Morgan says she defended her mother and grabbed the ninth-grade girl’s hands.

Morton was charged with assault "by admittedly shoving [the student] during a verbal altercation," the assault complaint says.

Ankeny School District Statements

"Ankeny Community School District is committed to the safety and security of all students.  When concerns or issues regarding student conduct arise, Ankeny Schools administrators investigate reports and then follow policy set by the Board of Education, based on the circumstances.  When fulfilling this duty, we respect the privacy of both those raising the concerns, as well as those whose actions are questioned. The Ankeny School District does not comment on the specifics of student discipline matters.

Inquiries regarding adult conduct and/or criminal charges should be directed to the Ankeny Police Department.

Ankeny Community School District has a policy of investigating all bullying and harassment charges brought forth. There are currently no Ankeny Community School District Harassment/Bullying Complaint forms filed in the district, or open reports in the phone/web-based incident reporting tool “TIPS”.

Updated on Jan. 29

Ankeny schools sent Channel 13 an additional statement Friday that reads in part:

"It is Ankeny’s policy to investigate and work to eliminate bullying and harassing conduct between students, including steps to minimize interaction between alleged harassers and victims.  We work hard to change conduct that shames or demeans any of our students.  We understand that both students and parents get frustrated by violations of these standards.  But physical confrontations between parents and students are completely inappropriate, do not contribute to safe schools, and will not be tolerated." 

The Ankeny Police Department declined to comment.

For further information on Ankeny Board Policies regarding student conduct, school board policies 503.60, 504.43, and 504.45 can be found here.

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