Gulf Coast student faces alleged bullying due to medical condition
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - One Gulf Coast mother and her daughter are pleading with parents to talk with their kids about bullying. This comes after a student says she was bullied relentlessly over a medical condition.
Destiaine Gossage rarely gets to present herself to the world without ridicule. Punching her chest and whistling are just some of the motor and vocal tics she has.
It took nearly a year of searching for a diagnosis before doctors could put a name to her neurological disorder - Tourette Syndrome.
Her tics cannot be controlled and it’s painful, but not nearly as painful as the bullying that comes along with it.
“Everybody thinks it’s so haha funny, but it’s not,” Gossage said. “It’s a serious condition and it affects a lot of people.”
The CDC estimates the disorder affects 1 out of every 162 children.
Her mother says Destiaine had to be pulled out of class just one day into the new school year due to incessant bullying.
“She told me Thursday there was a girl that was laughing so hard she just started crying, and kept triggering her to make her hit herself; and that was funny she hit herself,” her mother Jillian Jones said. “Destainie just wants to go to school, but I can’t go to school everyday to protect her.”
That mother is now turning to social media with a desperate plea to other parents.
“Please tell them, it’s not nice to bully,” Jones said. “It makes kids want to kill themselves. She just wants to go to school.”
“You’re always worried about being judged in public and there’s always someone who is going to be staring,” Gossage said. “It’s hard. It’s not an easy thing to deal with.”
Her mother worries that a typical classroom may not be an option for her daughter anymore because of the bullying.
However, Destiaine says she won’t hide behind her tics.
“I just want to contribute to that, spread awareness and help people realize that this is serious and it’s not good to make fun of people with Tourettes,” Gossage said.
WLOX has reached out to the Harrison County School district to try to get more information on the alleged bullying. We want to give them time to piece all of this together. We will share their response once we receive it.
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