Dad says school didn't protect his daughter

Posted at 1:15 PM, May 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-16 16:15:46-04

JAMUL -(KGTV)--A family moves out of San Diego to the east county for a better life and better education for their daughter.

Despite their efforts they say she was a victim of bullying.

“I called the principal and said that’s it you guys aren’t doing anything,” said Raul Cano. “I’m pulling her out of school and she’s not coming back until you have a plan to end this.”

Siyena Cano is a sixth grader at Oak Grove Middle School in Jamul.

She told Team 10 the girl she’s having issues with used to be one of her friends, but in December things changed and the name-calling began.

"She would call me names and she'd follow me around during lunch and say I’m a beaver buck tooth girl, call me all these mean bad words,” Siyena said.

Her parents say it continued for months and at times involved multiple people.

"Mad, sad,” she said. “I mean I almost cried, but I kept it in because I would have just been made fun of more.”

Siyena’s dad says at one-point emotions boiled over and things got physical. Both girls got suspended from school.

"Got to a point where my daughter came home crying and said I don't want to go back to school anymore.” Raul Cano said.  “I said why what's going on.”

Siyena’s answer nearly brought him to tears.

"She says I feel like killing myself, and that's where I blew up,” he said. “I was like no - this isn’t happening I’m not allowing my daughter to do this.”

Raul says they communicated with the school district at least a dozen times since last year, in person and through email, asking for a guarantee Siyena would be safe.

Raul concedes some measures were put in place, but says the emotional turmoil continued.

"They had my daughter followed around by a teacher, and we asked them why are you following her around she didn't do anything” he said.

Not so fast, the other girl’s mom told Team 10 over the phone.

She says her daughter is not a bully, but is also a victim, coming home from school in tears.

That mom confirmed the two girls were friends and at some point there was name calling.

She told Team 10 instead of solving the problem, the school created a negative environment when the girls were separated and friends had to choose sides.

She says he daughter felt isolated, and instead of addressing the problem the school allowed both girls to feel emotionally unsafe.

She told Team 10 the school district needs to change it’s policy.

It’s the same sentiment Siyena’s dad shared with 10News.

"I want to make a difference, I want to change something,” said Cano.

In a statement to Team 10 the Superintendent of the Jamul-Dulzura Union School District said, “The top priority of the Jamul Dulzura Union School District is to ensure a safe and comfortable learning environment for all of our students. Because of this, we take any reports of bullying at our schools very seriously. Whenever we receive a report of bullying, we respond swiftly to ensure all students are safe physically and emotionally. While we cannot release any information about specific students or incidents, our schools have several programs in place to combat bullying and resolve conflicts. We regularly review and update our curriculum and procedures to ensure those efforts are as effective as possible."

Team 10 asked for the districts documentation outlining the programs it referred to combat bullying. We also asked how often the district reviews and updates it’s curriculum and just how many bullying incidents have been reported to the district this year school.

The district responded “Please find this response to your second inquiry on Friday afternoon. Methods of reporting concerns, school safety policies, and more are available online at JDUSD also shares pertinent information with families including the Student and School Handbook. The Comprehensive School and Student Safety Handbook is available in each office and pertinent sections are online. We have attached the section for Student Safety and Discipline for your review. As we have said before, we have very few reports of bullying and work consistently and promptly to address any concerns that are brought to our attention.”