Family Urges Lawmakers For a Tougher Anti-Bullying Law
By Carmen Montes, Reporter / Spanish Webcast Anchor - email
A violent attack on a 13-year-old has a family asking lawmakers to take action after a bullying incident escalated into an assault caught on camera.
Experts say bullying can start with name calling, but may eventually lead to more, such as physical attacks. These attacks can be so overwhelming for the victims that in some cases, they decide to take their own life.
In Frida Aquilera de la Torres’ case, teasing was just the beginning.
"She was dragging me around and I didn't know what to do," Frida said of her attacker.
Frida says she's been bullied by not one, but six of her classmates, eventually leading to an attack as she walked home from school.
"By the time it was over my face was filled with blood from my nose and my hands. I would touch my face and my hands would be just full of blood," Frida shared.
A video, shot by five students, shows the brutal attack. Frida says she was punched in the head repeatedly, as she lay on a sidewalk next to a busy road.
Her mother, Dolores de la Torre says that when she arrived home her daughter could only say through her tears that the “cars wouldn't stop, the cars wouldn't stop."
In the video students appear to encourage the aggressor as they search for a better angle to shoot video on their cell phones.
Frida's mother says she couldn't believe what she saw when she arrived home. "I was in shock to see my daughter in really bad shape with her face swollen, bruises, bloody nose, everything," she said.
Dolores says the bullying started well before the attack.
"Before it was kind of, somebody called her a Mexican burrito or somebody threw a rock at her and made a big bump on the head, but this time, it was really, really bad."
So what happened to the six students accused of bullying Frida?
Her aggressor was suspended for a week from school and is currently charged with a misdemeanor assault. No charges were filed against the other kids.
Thomas Inkeelar, the lawyer for the De La Torres family, says that Nebraska law does not have adequate coverage for this type of incident, making it so those five other students were not held responsible for their actions.
The De la Torres’ say that what those kids did still impacts the family today.
"We are so scared at home. I mean, this thing changed our whole life for the whole family and for friends," Dolores shared.
Nebraska does require all schools to have anti-bullying policies in place – something we will explore further in part two of this three-part series.