A Colorado mother said her daughter faces relentless bullying from classmates — and she complained the school district is only making things worse.
Andrea Blake, whose 13-year-old daughter has an unspecified disability, said her daughter returned to school at Broomfield’s Aspen Creek K-8 after a judge granted a restraining order against another student that will remain in place for a year, reported the Daily Camera.
A spokesman for Boulder Valley Schools said administrators investigated the bullying complaints, some of which they could not substantiate, and created a safety plan with the family’s input.
But Blake said the safety plan — which includes an aide assigned to work with the girl — singles out her daughter and makes her more of a target.
“That would clearly further stigmatize her and lead to more bullying,” Blake said. “The emphasis on keeping not my daughter, but the bully, protected in school hurts my daughter just as much as the bullying has.”
The other student was moved to another school through an administrative transfer after the restraining order was granted, but Blake said the school took way too long to take action.
“The bully was empowered by getting away with what she was doing,” she said. “(My daughter) will be emotionally scarred by the very process that was supposed to help her.”
The girl, whose mother asked to keep her name out of news reports, previously asked the school board why she should stay home while her bully continued going to school.
“I used to be a very happy kid, but this whole situation has made me a little depressed and sad,” she said. “I do not feel safe at school. I do not enjoy school, and when the administration tried to fix the situation, that was the worst. All I feel is isolation.”
Those absences were marked unexcused, and an anti-bullying advocate said the school was focused more on “management of liability” than keeping the girl safe.
“(The bully was leading) organized shunning,” said Tom Ahlborg, chairman and director of Bullying Recovery. “That’s the most devastating tactic for a middle schooler.”
Ahlborg said the school district may have violated special education law by failing to protect the girl from retaliation and “putting the onus on the disabled child” to stay safe from bullies.
Bullying Recovery plans to file a civil rights complaint against the school district with the Colorado Department of Education.