Exclusive: Photos show severe bullying; school facing lawsuit

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by Sybil Hoffman

azfamily.com

Posted on October 29, 2012 at 10:45 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 1 at 3:35 PM

EL MIRAGE, Ariz -- Jumped by a group of boys in the bathroom, then urinated on and hit so hard he blacked out. These are just some of the accusations coming from a former sixth-grader at El Mirage Elementary School.

Despite repeated complaints, the child's parents say the school did nothing to protect their son.

Now the student is talking exclusively to 3TV about the horror he endured that he says fell on deaf ears.

The student has asked us to conceal his identity because the story he's now sharing still haunts him. In November 2011, the then-11-year-old says, "They started pushing me and hitting me against the wall."

It was inside the boys bathroom at El Mirage Elementary School that this child says several boys jumped him. The entire attack was videotaped.

"A kid took out his phone and that's when they started beating me up," he said. "I wanted it to stop."

The child's mother, Angela Rodriguez, holds back tears as she told us, "Literally picked him up by his throat and put him on the wall and was videotaping it. One of his teachers, homeroom teacher, sixth-grade teacher, saw the video."

Despite the evidence and teacher witness, Rodriguez said the school never punished the children who attacked her son, which is a violation of the Dysart School District's Bullying Policy.

"These children, as far as we can tell, were never suspended because they were in school in the next day," attorney Hope Kirsch said.

Two days later, Rodriguez said one of the boys involved in the bathroom attack bullied her son again.

"He turned and looked and sees the kid through the crack of the stall, just urinating on him," she said.

The next week the child was knocked unconscious while playing touch football. The child remembers, "As soon as I got the ball, it turned into tackle. All I remember is getting thrown to the ground."

According to the boy's father, even though his son was unconscious, the school never called 911.

"These people that are supposed to help our kids and keep them safe, they're not doing their job," Estevan Rodriguez said.

Fed up the Rodriguez family got the police involved as their son was fearful the bullying was only going to escalate.

"First there was the bathroom, which was bad, and then the slamming on the ground, which was worse, and I could tell that something else was going to happen," the child said.

His instincts were right. A month later, one of the boys involved in the tackle football incident reportedly slammed the bathroom door on the child's face. The child got a gash so deep it left a scar. The boy reportedly left the bathroom laughing. Angela Rodriguez said she was unaware of the attack until her son arrived home that afternoon.

"Why aren't they protecting our children?" she asked.

The Rodriguez family has since hired Kirsch.

"In this case it was repeated, it was so blatant," Kirsch said.

She recently filed a notice of claim with the Dysart Unified School District stating the boy was subjected to relentless attacks, which were repeatedly made known to school staff and ignored.

"This is the kind of case where the school needs to take some action," Kirsch said.

"They have the bully policy," Angela Rodriguez said. "It looks great, on paper, why aren't they following it?"

The Dysart School District declined to comment citing pending litigation. The couple has since removed their child from El Mirage Elementary.
 

Hope Kirsch is a partner with Kirsch-Goodwin & Kirsch, 8900 E. Pinnacle Peak Road, Suite 250, Scottsdale, 480-585-0600, hope@kgklaw.com.

 

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