A lawsuit filed against the San Diego Unified School District claims an act of bullying escalated into more troubling allegations after a kindergarten student allegedly molested another student in a school bathroom.
According to the lawsuit, the incident happened at Hamilton Elementary School and involved a female kindergarten student and her alleged female bully.
The girl’s father, Pablo, whose last name is not being released in order to protect the alleged victim’s identity, said his daughter had been a victim of bullying at her school since March of this year.
Pablo said his daughter had been repeatedly bullied by a fellow kindergarten student, pushed into bushes and shoved around on the playground. One day, he claims the bullying grew worse than ever.
The father said his daughter, intimated by the other student, was barricaded in a bathroom stall by the bully, who is bigger than she is. This happened more than once, according to Pablo.
The victim was then allegedly molested by the other girl in the stall, the lawsuit claims.
Pablo said he was shocked to learn of the incident from his child.
“It’s very difficult to hear your daughter saying something like this,” he told NBC 7 San Diego. “This other girl was putting her hands in her panties in the bathroom and just doing inappropriate things to her.”
The victim’s father reported the incident to the school and said he was told the principal would speak with him in person on a Friday.
However, considering it an emergency, Pablo went to school police and demanded to be heard sooner. At his request, he received a letter outlining, in writing, what was being done about the incident.
The outline included an investigation into the incident by school staff and plans for the teacher to keep a closer eye on both students. The teacher would also not send students to the bathroom at the same time. Additionally, the school counselor spoke to both students.
The outline also said “other actions had been taken,” but due to privacy issues, those details could not be revealed.
“They told us, ‘You have to give us a chance, you have to trust us – there’s nothing you can do,’” said Pablo.
But in July, after the girl’s mother allegedly noticed redness on her daughter’s private parts, the girl came forward again to say the molestation was continuing, though she said she always tried to get away from her alleged attacker.
“Knowing my little daughter was in the bathroom and would see the feet of someone else coming in and her throwing herself to the floor and low-crawling in the stall to try to get out because this other little girl would actually rub her private parts on her, and touch her, and hurt her – it’s hard,” said Pablo.
This time, the father turned to the San Diego Police Department, which filed a report. The victim’s family hired a lawyer, Anna Yum, and the family is now suing the district for negligent supervision.
“Essentially, she was a bully. She was molesting my client’s daughter,” said Yum. “What really appalls me is that this happened more than once. There is no excuse for that.”
“Once my client brought it to the school’s attention, they should’ve taken measures to be able to protect my client’s daughter. But they didn’t do that – it happened more than once,” added Yum.
The attorney said an internal investigation was launched after the first report, but Child Protective Services will neither confirm nor deny whether the incident was reported to them.
Meanwhile, the school district has rejected the claim that precedes the lawsuit. NBC 7 reached out to the district for comment Wednesday, but did not hear back. Typically, the district does not comment on pending litigation.