CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A former Liberty Hill Academy teacher who filed a complaint with the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission said the harassment she experienced at the school went ignored by school and district officials.
“It got to the point I wasn’t going shopping in my area because I didn’t want to go to a local store and run into these kids or their parents because I was scared,” former Liberty Hill Academy Secretary Mary Wood said.
Wood was one of four Liberty Hill Academy staff members that filed harassment complaints to the state, detailing the harassment they experienced at the North Charleston alternative school.
Wood claims she was fired while on FMLA for medically authorized leave.
“It’s affected me to the point when I think of the school I get really upset,” Wood said.
Wood worked at Liberty Hill Academy for 18 years, and said the last two years is when the school took a turn.
She said in that time she had to be hospitalized after a student brought pepper spray into the school, was sexually harassed, and was called vulgar names on a daily basis.
Wood said she went to the school and district several times and said nothing was done.
“It was hard working there, but I had no choice. I had to work. When it got to the point it was so bad I reached out to our ER department and I met someone off campus because I was at my wits end I didn’t know what to do,” Wood said. “Basically, I was told that I was burned out' You probably need to look for a new job.' Every time things would occur I would speak to the principal via usually email because you could hardly get him to sit because of so much chaos, and it was various times nothing was done.”
Wood said she had students rip her keys off her neck in the hallway and said a school administrator did nothing.
“Suck it, kiss it, and that was just so degrading,” Wood said. “It just gets old because you’re hearing that all day long, f**** b****, and it wore me down, it really wore me down. To be honest my self-esteem is kind of gone because I was in that environment so long and had to endure what I had to endure.”
Wood said the harassment has taken a toll emotionally and is seeing a therapist to deal with the stress and anxiety she had to endure.
“It has caused me to suffer a lot of low self-worth because I felt like no one cared and I just still am in awe. To be honest with you if I see someone from the school, even the principal, I just get really shaky because what he put me through there was no reason for it. I was a human being,” Wood said.
Previously released documents show 26 incidents of staff members who were injured on school grounds.
In a recent investigation, Live 5 News uncovered more than 4,000 student disciplinary incidents were filed at the school in 2017, yet nearly half were never processed.
The Charleston County School District previously said they have no comments on the complaints.