BOULDER — The mother of a disabled 13-year-old girl in the Boulder Valley School District plans to file a civil rights complaint over the handling of bullying allegations.
The girl's mother, Andrea, said the bullying was more than just words - it got physical as well.
“She was being pushed, shoved, had other kids shoved into her. She was being called retarded, stupid," Andrea said. "They were making fun of the behaviors she had due to her disability."
9NEWS has decided to not use the mother’s last name to protect her daughter.
Andrea says this has been going on since last school year and that the district’s plan wasn’t enough to protect the girl.
“We take safety very seriously in the Boulder Valley School District," said Randy Barber, spokesperson for the district. “When a case of bullying, an allegation of bullying is brought up, we investigate it thoroughly. And we take swift action. in this case, we did exactly that.”
Barber says the school did what they could to separate the students and at one point planned to have a paraprofessional follow Andrea’s daughter around campus to keep an eye on what may have been going on.
But Andrea worried that would exacerbate the problem and requested that not happen. She says the school would not eliminate the paraprofessional option. Andrea says that penalizes her daughter and therefore violates her civil rights. She plans to file a civil rights complaint soon.
“We’ve tried very hard to have it handled right from the beginning and anything they put in place was either ignored by the bully or not followed through with by school administration,” Andrea said.
The district insists that’s not true and that they did a thorough investigation.
“In some of those cases the allegations were found to be unfounded. But regardless we want to make sure our students are safe so we continue to work with the family,” Barber said.
Tom Ahlborg runs the Bullying Recovery Resource Center. He helped Andrea through the legal process. While temporary restraining orders are relatively easy to get, Ahlborg says he’s never seen one placed on a potential bully.
“You really want to document really well. That’s why the judge issued the restraining order,” explaining that Andrea came prepared.
Andrea plans to file the civil rights complaint soon. She went to a Boulder Valley School District board meeting on Tuesday night to express her frustration. She’s asking for policies to be updated.
“The policies need to change. The way things are handled need to be changed,” she said. “It’s not just my daughter. There are definitely two lives here that are greatly impacted. And they did a really big disservice to the bully as well.”