LAKEWOOD, Colo. — The mother of a 9-year-old boy who attempted to take his own life at school last week is blaming Jefferson County Public Schools for not doing enough to protect her son from bullies.
Loretta Barela’s son attends Stein Elementary School in Lakewood. Since the beginning of the school year, she said a group of students has bullied her boy.
“He’s a little guy. He can’t defend himself,” Barela said.
Barela’s son was so distraught by the bullies, he tried to drown himself in a school bathroom on Thursday.
He filled a sink with water and forced his head into it. Two students walked in and pulled him out and alerted a teacher. The school psychologist called Barela at work.
“It’s very disturbing to know a 9-year-old would take his life because of kids bullying him,” Barela said.
She discussed the situation with her son and urged the school to take action against the bullies.
“I said, ‘You know what happens if you would’ve went through with it? The bullies win. You lose. The bullies win.’ He was very upset about that,” Barela said.
Barela said she has complained to the school before about the bullies verbally and physically assaulting her son but said nothing has been done.
In a statement, Jefferson County Public Schools said: “School administrators addressed the situation on the day it occurred and continued to follow up the following day. The school took the proper steps to investigate this situation, including addressing accusations of bullying and engaging proper resources for the student. Jeffco Schools takes accusations of bullying seriously and strives to foster an atmosphere where our students thrive."
“I did have a chance to talk with my son today and he said all the kids are still in school, so obviously it doesn’t look like anything has happened in the school,” Barela said.
Barela is hoping other parents will talk with their children and educate them about the effects of bullying.
“They really need to be involved in their child’s lives and find out what’s going on in school,” she said.