Family members of a Texan student who was hospitalized after his peers allegedly knocked him out on school property were disappointed by the school’s response on Sept. 26.
College Station local Kailee Boynton, 21, felt devastated after reading a printed letter from Lakewood Elementary School about an incident two days earlier involving her brother Christian.
“I am deeply saddened by the response from Lakewood,” she wrote on Facebook. “To have this ‘isolated incident’ be taken so lightly, and then to have it be downplayed as if it wasn’t something incredibly serious, is infuriating.”
Three students allegedly followed Christian from the school bus and attacked him in the school restroom, leaving the 8-year-old with a traumatic brain injury leading to a trip to the hospital.
“My father has expressed that ‘he was taken to medical professionals,’ meaning Tomball Regional Hospital where he received an MRI and chest x-ray for his injuries,” Kailee said. “It was there that he was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma–he was bleeding from his brain. He was transferred to Texas Children’s via ambulance and treated there.”
The school claimed Christian was immediately evaluated at the school and, although his parents decided to have him examined by another health professional, the boy was discharged shortly after.
“There was an incident involving a group of our students in a restroom on campus, resulting in one student being taken by his parents to be seen by medical professionals,” Lakewood Principal Deanna Porter said in the letter posted to Facebook. “The student was released home later that day. … He was evaluated by the nurse immediately.”
Porter also disputed mainstream media reports suggesting Christian was found alone and unconscious in the restroom.
“While we are equally saddened and disheartened by the actions of our students, our investigation shows that contrary to media reports, at no time was a student left alone unconscious in the restroom,” she said. “Lakewood Elementary is a safe learning environment for your student and we are saddened that this isolated incident occurred in our school.”
“Education is our passion but safety is our top priority,” she wrote.
However, Kailee questioned the school’s safety record and decision to treat her brother’s bullying as an “isolated incident” that she believes should not have happened in the first place.
“As an education major myself, I have learned that it is fact that a child cannot thrive or learn in an environment where they don’t feel safe,” she said on Facebook. “I am worried that the school is committed to misunderstanding this ‘isolated incident’ and only worried about how this makes the school look as a whole. So where does that leave my brother or the rest of the students who attend Lakewood? What cost do these children have to pay to be ensured a safe learning environment?”
Although the school confirmed it does not tolerate this “kind of behavior” and stated it will “administer disciplinary actions” and teach students to be “responsible and productive citizens,” Kailee is still not satisfied.
She hopes by telling Christian’s true story, it will help stop what she calls a “hateful crime of bullying.”
“I am so very blessed to report that my brother is now home and recovering but it makes my heart ache that he had to suffer this way,” Kailee said on Facebook. “When do we, adults, decide when enough is enough? How did it escalate to this extreme? I’m wondering is there’s a way to reach people on a bigger platform to help me raise awareness to this issue?”
For now, Kailee has decided to resolve the matter directly with the school in private.
“I still desire to raise awareness and I will continue to seek justice for my brother but my family wishes to have some time now, to recollect on these events and move forward privately with the school and those involved,” she said on Facebook. “I never dreamed that this would blow up to what it has become.”