LYNWOOD, Ill. (CBS) — A young girl was attacked in gym class and she said a school bully is to blame.
Elisa Ramirez said the same boy has been bullying her for years, but this time he hit her hard in her face, narrowly avoiding a major eye injury.
CBS 2’s Dave Savini discovered that, until he got involved, little was done to help Elisa.
“I try and stand up for myself, but I’m scared, too,” Elisa said.
Elisa, a 5th grader at Sandridge School in Lynwood, said years of verbal abuse by the same boy has taken its toll on her.
“He calls me fat, ugly, stupid,” Elisa said. “All he does is call me fat every day. … He, like, always has to make fun of me and say, ‘Don’t eat all the food big girl’ and stuff, and I’m like, ‘I’m not,’ so I just quit eating.”
She said officials at Sandridge did not take her seriously about the verbal abuse, and then last month her alleged bully got physical and whipped her face with a jump rope handle. The bruises were still on her face a week after it happened.
“He took the jump rope and he used all his force just to swing at my face,” Elisa said. “I just can’t talk about it, because it makes me upset.”
Her mother, who is in the hospital with cancer, said school officials did not immediately inform her of this incident. Instead, after school, they sent Elisa home with a note claiming it was all an accident.
Family friend Paul Panozzo took Elisa to the emergency room, where doctors said the blow just missed seriously damaging her eye.
“It sickens me that we can’t allow these little children to go to school and be in a safe environment,” Panozzo said.
He said the school knew she was being bullied for years.
“I’ve heard her mother call the school and file complaints,” said Panozzo. “They have done nothing.”
Elisa said she was afraid and wanted the bully transferred to another classroom, but that did not happen.
School officials said they are watching the alleged bully every day. The superintendent said he did not feel it was appropriate to do a transfer.
Officials refused to discuss any further details, because it involves minors.
Aside from dealing with the school, Elisa’s family called police, who went to the school and wanted to ticket the bully’s parents, using a parental responsibility ordinance which allows up to a $500 fine. Police said the child has to be no younger than 13 years old, so they could not issue the ticket because the boy in this case is 10 years old.
Other children at the school said bullying is a real problem.
Mya and Micah Carter said they do not see school officials stopping bullies who repeatedly seek out victims. Micah Carter said he also witnessed Elisa being hit and said it was not an accident, it was deliberate.
“He really wanted to do it,” Micah said.
Elisa said she does not think the school understands how this is affecting her.
“No, or they would do something about it,” she said.
Police said they have issued 60 parental responsibility tickets. They wish more parents would call them when something like this happens.