Posted: Mar 2, 2011 6:22 PM by Ariel Wesler
Updated: Mar 3, 2011 7:43 AM
In tonight's Safe Family report, a local middle schooler shares her story of bullying. A 13-year-old girl at Lompoc Valley Middle School says she was beaten and sat on last week. Police are looking into it. Meanwhile, the girl is not planning to return to the school. She asked us to hide her identity for fear of retaliation.
This 8th grade girl says she's been bullied everyday since she was a 5th grader.
"They saw me as being weak, so they just kept wanting to mess with me even more," the girl said.
Just last week, the teenager says the bullying intensified at Lompoc Valley Middle School and became physical when two kids beat her, even sat on her.
"I was trying to tell them I couldn't breathe when they were choking me and hitting me, but they wouldn't stop," she said.
Then, when she started walking home from school, it continued.
"They started using weapons like sticks and belts," she said.
The girl says no one intervened to stop what was going on.
"I wasn't important because my friends didn't stick up for me," she said.
The Lompoc Unified School District says it averages one to two reports of bullying per month, but knows more victims are out there.
"One of the things that makes it difficult for us as a school or school district is that it's not reported until it's a big deal," said LUSD Student Services Director Art Diaz.
"I didn't want people to call me names or tell me I was a tattle-tale or anything like that," the girl said.
The teen and her grandmother urge others to speak up and report any kind of abuse, physical, emotional, or these days, electronic.
"When she started speaking out about the abuse that's been happening to her, she's just gotten stronger and stronger," her grandmother said.
"It makes you feel a lot better once you do tell because people do care," the girl said.
The school district wouldn't discuss this incident specifically. School leaders say bullying could get you suspended or even expelled from the district. Teachers and administrators are also being trained to identify signs of bullying.
Just this year, Lompoc Unified says it's making an effort to separate fighting from bullying. It now tracks those numbers separately.
The most recent survey from Santa Barbara County was from 2008 to 2009. It showed 31 percent of 7th graders say they've been harassed at school 26 percent say it was bad enough to keep them from their regular activities for a few weeks.
In San Luis Obispo County, 70 percent of 7th, 9th, and 11th graders surveyed said they felt safe at school.
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