The parents of a 7-year-old Arcadia, California, boy who was hospitalized after fracturing his skull at school caused controversy with a Facebook post claiming their son was bullied and the school was not doing enough to prevent similar incidents.
Eli Tsou and Jenny Yang posted photos of their son, Jeremy Tsou, in the hospital recovering from his injury — which they say was the result of him being pushed and tripped by a fellow student in his class and ultimately hitting his head on a desk and the ground, the Pasadena Star-News reports.
“It’s been 5 months since Jeremy was pushed and tripped by a boy in his classroom, hard enough to fracture his skull and cause brain bleeding that required surgery to treat,” Yang wrote in a post.
“Disappointingly, the school never took any action to address the bullying. Instead, they focused on trying to discredit the teacher who was trying to sound the alarm of the severity of his injury, and changed their initial story to blame Jeremy by claiming his injury was self-inflicted.”
Arcadia Unified School District spokesman Ryan Foran issued a statement after Yang’s post went viral, alleging the story was inaccurate.
“State and federal law protect the privacy of the student and the family and do not allow us to publicly address the details of the incident or the injury,” Foran’s statement read, according to the Pasadena Star-News.
“However, multiple accounts of the incident were posted online and many statements are factually inaccurate. We wish to provide as much insight and clarity as respectfully and legally possible.”
The district, according to Foran, conducted a “lengthy” investigation during which a number of witnesses were interviewed. Bullying and physical contact were not found to be causes of the injury.
Rather, school principal Jayne Nickles, who allegedly initially told Yang that a student had tripped Jeremy, came to the conclusion that Jeremy actually slipped on a pencil.
The parents subsequently filed several complaints against members of the school district, and Yang spoke out against bullying in her Facebook post about her son’s ordeal.
“If the school and district's handling of this has made me cynical, it's people's support and Jeremy's resilience that give me hope,” she wrote. "He has returned to school for 2nd grade, and continues to be his positive and kind self, despite what's happened. In his own way, he is standing up to the bully who hurt him so badly and to the school administrators who chose not to help him. I am so proud of him."
“So, for anti-bullying week, I want people to know Jeremy's story. I want Jeremy and all the other kids out there who have been hurt to know that there are still people who stand behind you and who will fight for you.”