Eighth grader fears school because of bullying

Breanna Mendoza stopped attending her Turlock middle school six weeks ago because of bullying. She says a few classmates, who she once considered friends, called her names in school and posted threats against her on social media. Her parents decided she would stay home when a girl told Breanna she would "deal with her on Monday."

"I thought that they were actually going to beat me up. I thought: 'I'm going to have to either always have somebody with me or not go to school,'" Breanna said.

Breanna was born with a facial deformity called Goldenhar syndrome. The eighth grader says she has been the target of bullies since she was in elementary school.

"When I was finally feeling happy for once, I got knocked back down," Breanna said.

Several weeks ago when she couldn't take the attacks anymore, Breanna wrote a letter saying she wanted to end her life.

"I felt like I was hopeless, like I had no other reason to be alive. So I had sent a few text messages to my friends,saying, 'I'm sorry, goodbye, that I care about you guys,'" Breanna said in tears.

Her mom says Breanna's condition makes her especially vulnerable.

"If the girls did get her, if they hit her in her face, it cuts off the airway and she can't breathe which means she dies," Wendy Mendoza said.

Breanna's parents reported the threats to the Turlock Police Departtment. They refuse to send her back to the same school if things don't change.

"You feel extremely angry that the school was doing nothing about it," Mendoza said. "They were sweeping it under the rug. They weren't even telling me that my daughter was being harassed."

The Mendozas want to enroll Breanna in a charter school where she would attend the campus only once a week and be homeschooled most of the time. Or they want her to have student aid to accompany her at all times. So far, they say the school has not agreed to either one of those options.

Turlock Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Sonny H. Da Marto sent the following statement in regard to the situation:

Presently we are in the midst of an investigation and have requested additional information from the parent regarding the allegations. Following receipt of this information and closure to the findings, all students involved will receive the appropriate consequences and counseling services, and alternative placements if necessary.

In the meantime, Breanna is taking it day by day with her parents by her side, hoping soon she can go back to learning and leave all of this behind.

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