Escondido girl responds to bullying by spreading kindness

Posted at 7:34 AM, Sep 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-12 10:49:36-04

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) - An Escondido middle school student said she's fighting bullying by spreading kindness.

Last week, 11-year-old Brooke Dalton found a nasty note in her backpack when she got home from school.

"I felt very upset inside, because we just started the school year. I don't know why I would get a note like this, it's not like they know me that much," said Brooke, a sixth-grader at Rincon Middle School.

The note calls her fat, ugly, and uses other foul language.

"How can people be so cruel to people who haven't even done anything?" said Brooke.

Her mom, Tina Pizzo, was just as devastated.

"Shock, honestly. I was in complete shock and just sad," Pizzo said.

The note takes a bizarre turn when it says, "You have Ebola and I hope you die really soon."

"You read that Ebola, you chuckle, but then you go to the next sentence and then there's no chuckle left," said Pizzo.

The next line is extremely personal, as it reads “signed someone who can afford more than you.”

Brooke and her family are currently homeless, and she told 10News, "I thought that was actually very personal because my mom tries super hard to get enough money for us by working; she literally is doing two jobs.”

Pizzo, her husband and their four young children have been homeless for a few years. They've lived in motels, in their van, and now they're staying in an RV.

"We have a lot of our own little personal hardships going on, that was almost evident, you know, that that person who wrote that letter knew," said Pizzo.

Tracy Schmidt, director of integrated support for Escondido Union School District, said school officials are taking the incident seriously.

"We are just absolutely devastated that we have a student who went home and had to read something of that nature," said Schmidt.

The district is trying to find the person who wrote the note, which was written on “Shopkins” stationary.

"Once we are able to identify that individual, obviously, we would provide what we would call a corrective action, but we also what to ensure that that individual understands the impact of this behavior," said Schmidt.

The district's bullying prevention activities are scheduled in a few weeks, which include family workshops at every school.

Brooke isn't letting the nasty note ruin her experience at her new school, which she said, she still loves.

"I just want to ask them, ‘Why did you have to give this to me?’ but I kind of am grateful that they gave it to me because then I can do the right thing with the note and then I can make sure other kids don't get this note," said Brooke.

Pizzo is planning to speak during the public comment at Thursday night's school board meeting.

After an outpouring of support for the little girl on social media, a friend set up a GoFundMe account for the family.