6th grader fearful of bullying with new school year

Bullied at school

As the dog days of summer come to an end, little Natasha Tuggle's anxiety starts to rise.

"Sad," she said when asked how she feels.

The 11-year-old, who's already battling a hearing impairment, worries she'll be beat up again at school.

"On the nose," she said when asked where she got hurt.

Her mother Laura Stephens recalls what her daughter said happened last May at Dishman Elementary School.

"She came home the last week of school and she had a bruise on her arm, she got punched in the nose and the school wouldn TMt do anything about it," Laura said.

Natasha will soon begin 6th grade at Gutierrez Middle School in Harlingen.

Mom feels her daughter's disability makes her an easy prey for bullies.

"What's your fear?" Action 4's Ryan Wolf asked. "That they're going to just keep on bullying her," she responded.

Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District administrators say they take bullying very seriously.

They are aware of the alleged incident with Natasha last school year but don't classify it as a case of "bullying" because there was only one reported incident.

They feel confident in her safety as well as the safety of every other student for the new school year with anti-bully measures already in place.

They're outlined in the student handbook.

Superintendent Dr. Steve Flores says all parents are urged to immediately file a complaint with campus administrators who are specially trained to deal with bullying.

The more details that can be given, likes names of students in question, the quicker the potential for resolution.

If a parent isn TMt happy with the outcome, complaints can then be made at the central office.

Laura says she followed the rules but has her doubts in the system.

"You think as parents that your children are going to protected at school and they're not," she said.

Natasha may be shy but she has choice words for bullies.

"I'd tell them, don't do it," she said.

Dr. Flores says his staff will continue to work hard to keep students safe.

"At HCISD, the safety of our students remains our number one priority, and it is important to us that our students feel safe and comfortable in our schools," the superintendent wrote in a statement to Action 4 News. Click here to join Ryan Wolf TMs Facebook Page

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