Mother says students schedule fights with daughter on Facebook

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DENVER -- A Denver mother is begging school administrators to do something about school violence after her daughter was involved in a brawl at Bruce Randolph School.

Jeanette Velasquez said students are scheduling fights with her daughter on Facebook and claims Denver Public Schools won’t do anything about it.

“This is my fourth time coming to the school to speak with them about it,” Velasquez said.

Her eighth-grade daughter, Heaven, has been involved in three fights at school since October. Velasquez said bullies pick on her because she’s homeless.

“It started with girls just talking about her to exchanging words back and forth to actually the physical altercation,” Velasquez said.

In a video of her latest fight, which happened Wednesday, Heaven is seen fighting back. She was suspended for two days and received a ticket from the Denver Police Department. Velasquez said punishment is not the only answer though.

“She doesn’t feel safe. She feels like the school doesn’t take her seriously,” Velasquez said.

DPS spokesman Will Jones said in a statement:

“Denver Public Schools takes concerns about bullying extremely seriously. We want to ensure that incidents of bullying are addressed quickly; that victims of bullying receive support and that perpetrators of bullying understand the harm done and learn alternative behavior strategies.

The school system provides a variety of bully prevention resources including the Olweus Bully Prevention that is available district-wide as an online curriculum.

We recommend that parents check in with their children often to ensure that they are feeling safe and supported in school. If a child is experiencing bullying behavior, we advise parents to be supportive toward him/her and to try to get specific information about what is happening.

We also ask that parents alert their child’s teacher to the bullying behavior and ask specifically what the teacher will do to address the behavior. We encourage parents, if they feel that it is necessary, to inform the school principal and ask those same questions. If parents feel that the school has not addressed the behavior, we ask that they contact the Office of Family & Community Engagement (FACE) at 720-423-3350 or, for information on district-level resources.”

Velasquez believes her daughter’s school needs to stop the violence before it starts.

“It was a planned out attack,” she said of Wednesday’s incident.

She provided screen shots of posts from the other girls on Facebook that advertised an upcoming fight with Heaven. One of the students asked other students to shoot video of the fight.

Velazquez believes if parents and school staff can catch violence online before it happens, future fights could be prevented.

"I know we can’t stop it. It’s going to happen. But at least we can be more vocal about it,” she said. “I feel like [the school] won’t take it seriously until something happens to my daughter where it involves her health, her safety, her life.”