WHEN Aubrey let her daughter take the bus to school alone, she assumed that little Briellea was assigned a seat with kids her own age.
So when the five-year-old came home with stories of kids teasing her on the journey to and from school, the US mum simply assumed it was "normal kids" behaviour, as she posted on Facebook.
But she couldn't have been more wrong - a fact that Aubrey quickly realised with a sickening jolt when she picked up her little girl from the bus stop on December 5 in the US state of Georgia, to find her covered in blood.
"From a distance, it first looked like Briellea had marker on her face, but immediately I noticed it wasn't and she was crying and screaming," Aubrey told Yahoo Lifestyle.
"Briellea got to my car door and I noticed the bus trying to pull away. I quickly jumped out my car and ran to the bus driver's window."
It was then that the distraught mum was "casually" told by the driver that her girl had been brutally slapped.
But little Briellea told a different story, revealing to her mum that another girl had "slapped her, pulled her hair, grabbed her head and slammed it into the bus wall".
"The worst of it is Briellea tells me that the girl grabbed her by the throat and told her to stop breathing," Aubrey added.
Thankfully, Briellea did not require medical assistance after the brutal attack but her mum said on Facebook that she has "lost confidence and self- esteem" as a result of the bullying.
At the time the driver assured Aubrey that he would be writing up the 12-year-old girl and nine-year-old boy, who had participated in the attack, and moving Briellea to the front of the bus - but the concerned mum wasn't satisfied.
She quickly called the school's assistant principal and the local police to report the attack, and the driver's response.
"I'm concerned with the bus driver," she said in her post.
"The children good or bad, deserve better and if his bus was out of control he had the power to stop it.
"It is his job to safely take and return my child back home in the same condition she left in."
Briellea's school confirmed that they were investigating the incident to news station WMAZ with law enforcement adding that charges have been filed against the 12-year-old girl, whose identity remains anonymous.
While the investigation continues, the girl has been suspended for 10 days, while the nine-year-old boy has been moved to another bus and Briellea has been given a new seat.
But Aubrey is concerned that this isn't a permanent solution.
"No kid should have to ever fear going to school, or being at school, or coming home from school," she said.
"These people have the job to protect our children.
"I'm willing to stand up and fight for what is right until I can fight no more."
If you or someone you love is suffering from bullying, please reach out to Lifeline on 13 11 14, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36.
If you'd prefer to chat with someone online National Centre Against Bullying, Bullying No Way and ReachOut all have great online bullying resources for kids. Contact to police on 000 if you are in immediate danger.
This originally appeared on Kidspot and has been republished with permission.