The mother of a special needs student at Vintage High School says that school and district officials ignored claims that her daughter was being bullied by a senior. She is now threatening to sue Napa Valley Unified School District for failing to help her child.
“They did nothing to the girl, no disciplinary action or criminal action. And she walked her ceremony. Now that school is over I don't know what to do except possible legal action,” Jennifer Marks told Patch in an email.
The school district denies that it ignored her complaint.
Marks says that she first contacted the school about alleged bullying on March 12. She claims that her daughter, who is Autistic and suffers from Neurofibromatosis, was subjected to “name calling, taunting, and threats” on a daily basis by a senior, and provided that student’s name to the school. Marks says that she was told in an email that the situation would be handled.
However, in an email dated May 27 that Marks sent to 11 school and district officials among others, the angry mother alleged that the bullying was ongoing and had caused health issues for her daughter. Marks wrote, “May 23, 2014, after an extreme case of harassment from (student’s name withheld by Patch), my daughter because [sic] so ill from a migraine upon returning from school that she ended up in the emergency room at Queen of the Valley where she was treated with IV fluids and medication. We send our children to school, especially our special children, with the expectation for them to be protected and safe. This was not the case.”
Mark Morrison, Napa Valley Unified School District Director of Student Services, told Patch in an email that the district “acted on the allegation. I also, followed up with the school on their investigation.” However, Morrison said that he could not comment on individual students to the media so he did not divulge anything further.
The district has a full web page devoted to bullying including ways to prevent the behavior, and sections for both students and parents. Morrison suggests that parents take a close look at the information, and follow recommendations. The page advises parents: “If you suspect your child is being bullied, please contact your child’s school for help.”