SANTA ANA, Calif. (FOX 11) - Parents are outraged that their kids no longer feel safe at a local middle school. A video posted on social media shows a recent fight at Hewes Middle School in the Tustin area where a 7th-grade girl pounds a classmate’s head into the concrete.
Parents say the attacks have been “entirely foreseeable.”
Hewes 7th grader Hannah Lybarger says she was leaving class last Wednesday when her classmate grabbed her by the back of her hair, knocked another girl into the door and punched Hannah repeatedly until her head hit the concrete.
Her mom says Hannah told school officials the day before that she felt uncomfortable but says administrators did nothing in time to stop the attack.
“There are some troubled kids and they’re known throughout the school and terrorize a lot of kids, not just my daughter and Josh, but terrorize these kids and they need more resources to help these kids so that the kids are feeling safe and not afraid when they come to school,” said Lori Lybarger.
Laura Picker says her 6th-grade son Josh was attacked at Hewes last month --15 minutes before school started. His head also hit the ground. And Picker says they weren’t notified until late that afternoon.
“It makes me sad that my son goes to school, wondering if he needs to look over his shoulder,” said Picker who is a high school teacher. She has lived in the area for more than 45 years and went to Hewes as a kid. “As a mother, it breaks my heart to speak of a school that I love and a district that I love. It breaks my heart to question their judgment, it breaks my heart to question their rules. But as a mother, it is my job.”
The Tustin Unified School District released this statement:
“Tustin USD and Hewes Middle School community have student safety as our highest priority. The District is aware of two unfortunate and isolated incidents that occurred last week and were magnified through social media. The District will not discuss specific student discipline for reasons of confidentiality; however, both situations have been addressed.”
The District also says this behavior is unacceptable, but that Hewes has one to two fights a year. Josh and Hannah’s parents say that’s two too many and worry it’s only going to get worse.
“To drop them off at school and want them to be safe and protected, you’re entrusting that in the school. This is not getting delivered,” said Lybarger.
Picker adds, “My son is ok and I’m standing here for him anymore. It will happen again, and it will happen again because of the policies that exist that are in place that will exist tomorrow and the next day and the next day until they stop thinking about what they’re going to do and do something.”
Parents understand the school has limited resources but say something needs to be done; at least more counselors kids can confide in and a security guard or police officer on campus.