HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Chris Hite says his 12-year-old son, a 7th grader at Ocean Bay Middle School, was the victim of bullying while at recess Wednesday morning.
"The nurses office called and said he's been beat up and hit again," Hite said.
Hite says a student confronted his son - first verbally assaulted him, then slapped him and knocked him to the ground.
"My son gets up to try to retaliate and defend himself and the boy jumps on top of him and starts hitting him in the face several times," Hite said.
Hite says his son tried to stand up and hit the student back.
"There was a police officer at the school- he was there as well, and he basically said your son basically defended himself. It shows the other kid started it," Hite said.
Now Hite's son is suspended for two and half days. Hite says it isn't right.
"It's kinda like a smack in the face after being punched in the face basically. To me it was a kick in the gut," Hite said.
Horry County Schools has a zero tolerance policy for fighting, so regardless of the reason, a student cannot take part in a physical altercation or else they face disciplinary action.
"It's like they have no support. Nobody is sitting there saying you did the right thing. We've got your back," Hite said.
Hite says he fears what could happen if his son continues to get bullied and punished if he fights back.
"You hear about all these things that happen nowadays in the news, and I don't want that to be my son because of what he's gone through," Hite said.
Hite says the other student who instigated the fight was suspended for a longer amount of time than his son, but he thinks his son shouldn't have been suspended at all.
Hite says his son did the right thing, because showing other students he isn't afraid of defending himself could prevent future bullying.
"If somebody does assault you or do something to you, you better stand up and take care of yourself because you need to let not only that child but any other kids in that area sitting around watching, the little circle that gets around them- know that you mean business. And that could help stop any future bullying," Hite said.
Hite says if it were to happen all over, he still thinks his son did the right thing.
"I will continue to tell my son I support him and never throw the first punch. Never. But if somebody does try to hurt you, you better defend yourself."