Following a disturbing Feb. 27 incident where a 6-year-old Crowell Elementary School student allegedly stabbed or poked a classmate in the throat with a mechanical pencil, either accidentally or intentionally, complaints of an out-of-control bullying problem at the school have come pouring in to TurlockCityNews.com.
The victim’s father, Ruben Aguilar, says the school failed to respond to his repeated complaints of bullying. That same bully is the boy who allegedly stabbed his son.
Since the incident, Aguilar’s son has transferred to another school. It is believed the boy who stabbed him was minimally punished with a lunchtime detention, and remains in the same class at Crowell Elementary School.
The Turlock Unified School District has officially determined that the stabbing was an accident, and that the boy “stumbled forward” and “poked” Aguilar’s son. Some eyewitness reports support Aguilar’s story, that his son was stabbed by a classmate.
While the incident was alarming to parents at the school, many claim that bullying is an ongoing issue at the school, and that Principal Linda Alaniz and Vice-Principal Terry Souza fail to enforce discipline at the school.
More than a dozen complaints alleging a lack of administrative discipline and response to bullying were posted in Facebook comments on the TurlockCityNews.com Facebook Page.
There were 16 non-anonymous posts directly from Crowell Elementary School parents or guardians claiming their child had been a victim of bullying. All said school administration had failed to respond in a fair and just manner.
The following comments are presented in their unedited form.
Sheri Patton wrote, “My granddaughter goes to this school and has been bullied and the school has done nothing about it. I hope they do something about it now.”
Megan Thompson wrote, “My son has been getting bullied and i have spoke to the school multiple times and nothing is getting done he goes to this school and is in first grade. The kid keeps picking on him. my son just turned 7.Im so fed up.!!!”
Dionne McCarver Hellenbaart wrote, “Both of my daughters dealt with bullies at this school, my youngest still attends this school and little or nothing is done by the yard duties when she informs them. Bulling got so bad last year with my oldest, that we kept her home until the issue was partially resolved.”
E-mails Also Allege Bullying Goes Unpunished
The most alarming allegations of poor leadership come via e-mail from parent Michael Ransdel, Jr., who has had five children under his care attend Crowell Elementary School. He says his son was bullied and eventually physically beaten about the face by an older student two years ago, under the same school administration.
“We’ve been dealing with Alaniz and Souza for years. I’m not surprised at all that something this drastic happened. I’m surprised by how young the kids were, but the administration there – Mrs. Souza and Mrs. Alaniz – have no control or discipline over students.
“Kids are not afraid of their vice-principal who is supposed to handle discipline,” he said. “The bullies get suspended a day or they get detention and then they come back to school and laugh in their (the victim’s) face.”
Ransdel says his son now has a permanent indentation on his right cheek from the beating, and that the student who hit him received little to no punishment.
Ransdel claims he also went to TUSD officials to address the problem.
“(TUSD Director of Student Services) Gil Ogden gave Ruben (Aguilar) the same run-around as he gave me,” Randsel said. “They say they can’t say anything because of confidentiality and they end up doing nothing to the bully. They are teaching these kids that the victim is in the wrong.
“Ruben’s kid had to move schools because they won’t do anything to the kid who stabbed him. It was the same thing that happened to us.”
Another Crowell Elementary School parent, Cory Swint, said his daughter has been slapped across the face by a bully and has had her school work taken and ripped to shreds by a bully.
“We are to the point of moving my children from the school because the school faculty as a whole doesn't take it serious,” said Swint. “They tell you to stay away from the child that is bullying you and don't discipline the bully. It's a sad situation and many children are at risk because of the lack of supervision at the school.”