DANIA BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - A 10-year-old boy said he is scared to go back to his Dania Beach school because has been bullied and even threatened with a weapon, leaving his mother feeling concerned for his safety and frustrated with how school officials are handling the situation.
The student and his mother, Beth Pavon, spoke with 7News on Monday about frightening moments he has experienced on the campus of Collins Elementary School and the steps she has taken.
“I’m really scared to go to school,” said the boy.
The student said the situation has recently escalated.
“He brought a pocket knife. I heard some kid tell me that he was gonna stab me from my throat to my body part, and I don’t know, I started really getting scared,” he said.
The fourth grader said he is scared because that student had been physical with him before.
Pavon said she was shocked when her son told her about the bullying.
“He said, ‘Some little boy slapped me, Mom. He wanted to see how red I turned,'” she said. “They call him ‘cracker.’ They call him all types of racial words.”
Then, a few weeks later, Pavon said her son informed her about the weapon.
“On Wednesday, my son told me that there was a child at school with a knife,” she said. “I asked him if he got in trouble, and he told me, ‘Yes.’ The following day they called me at work, at around 3, to tell me that my son was mentioned by this child, that he had [my son] placed on a hit list, him and another child.”
Pavon said she contacted the authorities. Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives are investigating along with the school.
“They said it’s a 15-day investigation, but they’re not telling us anything else. They’re not telling us if [the student with a weapon] is going to come here or not,” she said. “I just want to make sure that, not only my son is safe, but the other kids in the school are safe.”
Pavon said school officials gave her a form that checks bullying, threats and intimidation as the alleged incident and allows her to switch schools through The Hope Scholarship.
“I can’t get in touch with anybody. I called the school district; they sent me to a voicemail, has no beep, has no nothing, no indication of whether I left a voicemail or not,” she said, “so I said, ‘I have to call Channel 7, and I have to do something, because somebody is going to have to give me some answers.'”
In a statement from Broward County Public Schools, a spokesperson said the school resource officer did find a bottle opener with a corkscrew and a blade in the student’s backpack.
The statement reads in part, “When allegations of bullying arise, the matter is thoroughly investigated with the involvement of parents and the SRO to mediate the situation, offer assistance to students and families and explain options available through the District and the state, such as The Hope Scholarship.”
“I feel like the school is hiding stuff from me. They’re not telling me what weapon. My child was the one who told me,” she said. “I’m upset because he was interrogated without me being present. Not only that, the way they sent me that notice, it just felt like a waiver, like, if you leave him here and something happens, it’s on you.”
Pavon said the incident happened just before Thanksgiving break, and her son has not returned to school since.
“I want my son to go to a school where he’s safe,” she said.
“I just want to go to a different school, because I don’t feel like I belong in the school, and I thought, like, they just do not want me here,” said her son.
Pavon said the school’s principal spoke with her, but she did not get the answers she was seeking. Because of student confidentiality, she said, school district officials are not able to tell her whether or not the student who had the weapon will return to campus, and that makes her decision as to whether or nor to keep her son in the school or have him transfer even more difficult.
The BCPS spokesperson said officials at Collins Elementary took disciplinary actions as defined by the Code of Student Conduct Handbook. They called those measures “appropriate.”
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