SAN ANTONIO -- Jessica Baxter worries for her 3rd grade son. He attends Huebner Elementary, where the incidents allegedly began in the lunch room.
Baxter said her son complained of inappropriate comments being made by another student. Later, the 9-year old said he was being told by the other student where he could and could not sit in the cafeteria.
But it was weeks later during a football game in P.E. that put mom’s complaint over the top: when the very same boy kneed her son in the groin.
“It had gone from pushing, shoving, name-calling to real physical injury,” said Baxter.
Baxter said doctors were concerned about the swelling, five-days after the incident.
“We went to his pediatrician who pulled me out of the room to tell me it’s so severe, we may be talking about surgery, and you need to go have a sonogram to determine how serious that injury is.”
Baxter says NEISD’s student handbook talks of a zero tolerance for bullying, but she said the system appears to favor the bully.
She points out that it is up to the school’s principal to initiate any investigation and determine whether an incident is horseplay or something more serious.
“I got an apology note from this child. But the very next day, he’s doing the same thing,” Baxter said.
NEISD spokesperson Aubrey Chancellor defended the elementary school’s response, saying interviews with the students and teachers, and a review of school video showed the incidents in Baxter’s case were handled appropriately.
Chancellor said bullying gets the same treatment as other campus infraction—once it is determined to be “bullying.”
“Once it has been determined that it is a bullying situation, that students family receives a letter in the mail, letting them know of the investigation, what we found, and then from there if it continues there are punishments: in-school suspension, off-campus suspension, and alternative placements,” said Chancellor.
NEISD isn’t required to keep track of bullying events, but school officials said they do tabulate them. In the 2012-2013 school year, the district reported a total of 119 bullying incident. Fifty-one of them occurred in elementary schools.
This year, there have been 56 incidents reported throughout the district, with 24 of them taking place in elementary schools.
In the Baxter case, the two students were separated when the alleged victim was moved to another classroom.
But NEISD officials said it wasn’t because of bullying, but because of comments perceived to be threats to the boy’s safety.