Concern and frustration in Firebaugh on Thursday night as parents demanded change from the school district.
The concern was sparked by photos of a sixth grade boy with autism. His parents say he is bullied constantly and was attacked last Friday. The photos that have been shared hundreds of times on social media. But they only scratch the surface. Parents packed the library, some stepping up to the podium to say there’s a real bullying problem at Firebaugh Middle School.
Raymond and Lisa Nixon wore blue ribbons to signify National Bullying Prevention Month, days after they say their son who lives with autism — got harassed by four boys and beaten up by one of them. Raymond Jr. is back at school trying to be brave, they say.
“He said everyone in school was very supportive of him. Everyone in school was very worried about him,” said Nixon.
Nixon let the school board know students with autism and other special needs should have a zone to turn to when they’re being bullied.
“A safe place would be where a child needs to go, a child with special needs can go if he or she is over stimulated. Stand, cry, simply allow themselves a moment of peace to recover,” said Nixon to the board members.
But moments later, a fellow mother claimed Nixon’s son has bullied her child multiple times.
“I’m here to stand up for him and other children in the classroom that have gone through this with this child,” said Angelica Fuentes.
Another mother of students attending Firebaugh Middle School says her kids are being attacked by other students.
“Recently last week they stabbed my son with a pencil and nothing was done. The teacher called me, like they took out the lead, took out the pencil and that was it,” she said.
Parents, staff and the board listening to these experiences. Some with solutions.
“Our neighboring schools all have SRO officers. Do we have SRO officers? I’d like that question answered,” she said.
“We need to have programs for these students that are getting suspended. What are we doing to help those kids? Why did they become bullied?,” asked another mother.
The board acknowledged the issue. The Superintendent concluding the meeting with a brief statement.
“I know that the principal at the middle school has worked on implementing some strategies and things to help the situation,” said Russell Freitas, Superintendent of Firebaugh Las Deltas Unified School District.
A situation parents like Nixon want answers to — soon.
“We don’t want our son harmed again,” said Nixon.