Racially charged bullying of student goes ignored by school officials, mom says

DUBLIN, Calif. - A mother in the East Bay accused administrators at St. Raymond School in Dublin with turning a blind eye when her 13-year-old child complained of racially-charged bullying and allowing a teacher to assault her daughter.

Alcian Lindo said nothing was done after her Black daughter was bullied by white students in racially motivated harassment and assaulted by a teacher at the Catholic school in Dublin.

Instead, her daughter was expelled for fighting, even though she had been asking the administration for support and felt she had no other option, according to Lindo.

Lindo said she had to take her daughter to the hospital because she had a swollen neck after the physical altercation, and alleges a teacher at St. Raymond choked her while trying to break up the fight.

"I looked at her throat. I saw it was red. It was swollen," Lindo said.

She said it all started in December, when her daughter told her about the racially-motivated bullying.

"There were a few students at her school that were making monkey noises at her," Lindo explained.

Lindo recalled a meeting on January 11 when she sat down with the principal, Gregory Peterson, to report the bullying and discuss solutions.

"He sat there and heard her story and saw her tears. I mean, she could barely speak when she was explaining how the comments made her feel, what those girls were saying to her."

She said she thought it was being handled, but still, weeks went by and the harassment continued.

"My daughter kept coming home saying, ‘they're still bothering me, it’s getting worse,’" she said. "She continued to report this to the principal, but was getting no response and no real action."

On January 25, Lindo said she got a call from her daughter in the middle of the school day.

"As soon as I got there, the principal took me into a different office, and the first words out of his mouth were, ‘Your daughter, got into an altercation with the student. She hit the student. We have a zero violence policy here, so she's out,’ and that was his way of saying that she's expelled."

She said she later learned her daughter was locked in an office and was refused a phone call, even though she repeatedly asked to call her mother.

Lindo said a teacher had stepped in during her daughter’s fight with her bullies.

"Her male English teacher came up from behind her and put her in a choke hold and dragged her out of the class by her throat," she said.

Lindo said in a second altercation in the hallway on the same day, the teacher choked her again – causing her daughter to fall down the stairs.

"To do that and then drag them out that way, that's a lot of force," she said, describing how he wrapped his arm around her neck.

Lindo said she took her daughter to the Kaiser emergency room and that’s where the nurse reported it to police. She shared evidence of her daughter’s injuries in the form of daily photos, as the bruising took place throughout the week.

Dublin police told KTVU the incident is under investigation as the school resource officer interviews witnesses. They also said everyone involved is cooperating. The spokesperson with Dublin Police Services could not directly say whether the teacher is under investigation.

"The teacher did this in front of the entire 8th grade class," Lindo said. "I was extremely shocked."

Lindo went on to say there were students who reached out to her daughter acknowledging that they also saw him put his arms around her neck and "drag [her] out of class."

The expulsion letter from Peterson said Lindo’s daughter "punched a female student on the side of the forehead and continued to throw punches until a faculty member intervened."

It reads the incident breaches the school rules of "assault or battery." There is no mention of the teacher’s alleged assault.

"That teacher needs to know this is not OK. You can't get away with things like this. The principal needs to understand that you can't allow bullying and harassment to happen in the school," said Lindo.

After multiple emails requesting information and not receiving any responses, KTVU’s Crystal Bailey went to the school and tried to speak with Peterson in person, but his receptionist said he was in meetings. She left her card with the receptionist, but Peterson did not reach out to comment.

In an email Peterson sent to Lindo on February 2, he told her he "disagreed" with many of her claims, but offered her information on no-fault medical health care to cover her daughter’s injuries.

"I don't think that it's right or fair that she has to try to navigate now with this expulsion on her record, after having a completely clean record," Lindo said.

She said her daughter is at a new school now, but wants the expulsion removed and the school to be held accountable.

"She says she's fine, but, I’m her mom. I know she's not, and I've seen the light kind of dim," Lindo said, describing the emotional impact on her daughter. "She shouldn't have to experience that. She should be able to just go to school."

After reaching out for comment multiple times, a spokesperson with the Diocese of Oakland, Helen Osman, said the issue is being addressed within the school community. She also said she cannot comment on incidents involving minors.

Lindo said she has an attorney and is appealing the expulsion.

KTVU also reached out to the superintendent, Andrew Currier, and did not hear back.