Students react after allegations they bullied a grandmother - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Students react after allegations they bullied a grandmother

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - A controversial picture posted on Facebook allegedly shows one Cedar Rapids Washington High student giving the middle finger to the person taking the picture.

It all surrounds a group of Cedar Rapids Washington students Friday at a basketball game at Linn-Mar -- and Washington was the visiting team.

The woman who posted the picture says the group of students bullied her grandmother.

"I am the one holding my middle finger right there," said Tacoma Davis, a Washington High School student.

Davis admits it was him flicking off the granddaughter of a handicapped grandmother after the group asked the grandmother to move.

Davis says they were sitting in the student section and his friend Reece Chadima politely asked a group of grandmothers to move because they knew their section would be loud during the game.

"So I come up and said, 'Hi, sorry, this is the student section that we've been given, would you mind moving?'" said Chadima, also a Washington High senior. "What we learned from this Facebook post and after that was that this grandma was disabled, but we did not know that."

Chadima says two of them did move, but another didn't.

The group allegedly became rowdy, and basically forced the handicapped grandmother to move, who had been sitting there for a while.

The Facebook post says, in part: "The Washington students had asked my disabled grandmother to move across the gym because it was 'their' section. Upon hearing this, I became very upset and informed them how disrespectful I felt it was to essentially make an elderly handicapped woman leave because of their actions."

It goes on to say the students became disrespectful, and the granddaughter found the Washington High principal to bring the problem to his attention.

Cedar Rapids district leaders admit the students were sitting in their designated spots, and the principal did tell the granddaughter that the students were sitting in their assigned section.

However, Mary Ellen Maske, Cedar Rapids Schools deputy superintendent, says the district didn't want to jump to conclusions by saying the students' actions were bullying, and wouldn't speak on individual behavior.

She says district staff reminds students to be respectful at all times, inside and outside of the classroom.

"I would take it back, going back, because you can see in the picture the bottom one, you could see my face was disappointed after I saw she took the picture. I would definitely take it back, but in the heat of the moment that's what I wanted," said Davis. "I do apologize for my actions and it wouldn't happen again."

We tried reaching out to the granddaughter and grandmother, who reached out to KWWL through email and social media, but couldn't get a hold of them.

This story and photo were edited Tuesday, Dec. 16 to reflect new information about which students were flipping off the camera in the photo.

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