Daryl Gray, 13, said he did everything he could think of to get relentless school bullies off his back. But when his talks with teachers and his efforts to ignore the name-calling and physical abuse failed, he finally fought back. And now he's paying for it.
Daryl, convicted of aggravated battery after he hit his classmate with a pencil, has been fined and sentenced to probation for his actions.
Daryl said the incident occurred after the boy hit him during math class earlier this year.
"I was trying to do my assignment. The student was messing with me," Daryl said on ABCNEWS' Good Morning America. "I didn't want to fight him, so I tried walking away, but when punched me, I started defending myself."
The boy Daryl hit with the pencil suffered a serious wound on his face, which has left a visible scar.
Daryl says he's never fought back at any of his bullies before, even when a boy purposely urinated on his shoes in the school restroom.
The boy's defense attorney says the judge's decision to sentence Daryl to probation will send parents and students a mixed message about how to react to bullying.
"They are taught that they cannot fight back. If they do, they will be charged under the criminal code," said Daryl's attorney, Audrey Johnson. "But as a parent, of course you don't want your children to go to a place and not feel safe and protected."
During his court hearing back in April, Judge Leslie Gresham refused to consider arguments by Daryl's lawyer that he acted in self-defense.
Daryl, a Jehovah's Witness, has been taught not to use violence against others, according to his mother, Jeanette Gray.
"He's not that type of child. He's a very mild-mannered child," Gray said.
Daryl, who cried at his sentencing hearing Wednesday, says kids at his school are still making fun of him daily even after all that he's been through.
"Most of the time they call me white," said Daryl, who is black. "It's better than what they were calling me before. But I've learned not to deal with them."
Gray was sentenced to 90 days of probation, a $332 fine and 16 days of community service.
Gray says her son no longer wants attend the school because he fears the bullying will never end.
"I talked to the teachers, I e-mailed the board of education, I did everything possible and it didn't stop," she said.