Teen’s bullying experience helps change state law
Four years ago, they dreaded attending their classes.
On Oct. 16, 2007, Tabitha was walking around the track at San Gabriel’s Jefferson Middle School when a group of boys began throwing rocks from a nearby construction project.
One rock struck Tabitha in the head, changing her life in unimaginable ways. First, the injury resulted in a concussion. Then she became fearful of stepping onto campus. Her family then engaged in a three year battle to transfer Tabitha and her sister to a different school. Before all was done, Tabitha had testified before asics running shoes the California Legislature and helped pass a law that will ease the road for anyone who has a similar experience.
Last month Gov. Jerry Brown signed an anti bullying measure sponsored by Assemblyman Mike Eng (D Monterey Park). Eng calls the legislation which starting in July will require training for school staff and will make it easier for targeted students to shift to new schools Tabitha’s law.
Tabitha said she had never seen or spoken to the boys before the incident.
couldn’t think of a reason why they did it, she said. could never even think about doing that to anybody. she was struck by the rock, she got an ice pack at the nurse’s off asics running shoes ice, she said, but school officials didn’t call the police. Her mother took her to a hospital when she started to feel light headed and dizzy.
The 13 year old boy who threw the rock eventually was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and was ordered to stay away from Tabitha. But Tabitha, then 11, still felt unsafe on campus. When she received a detention notice for hiding in the bathrooms at school, her mother, Isela Bowles, said she realized the severity of the problem.
grades dropped, and everything just changed, Bowles said. came into our lives in such an ugly way. and her husband, Scott, tried to transfer Tabitha and Tiffany to a different school. But for three years, the San Gabriel Unified School District board denied their request. Finally the family rallied a group of community members to persuade the board to approve the transfer.
San Gabriel school board President Denise Menchaca, who favored the transfer, said letting Tabitha and Tiffany switch schools was right thing to do. But, she added, kids to another district does not fix the problem [of bullying]. Eng said the measure gives to those young people who are bullied if they need to transfer out of that school, and the definition of bullying so it is not just what you observe. said the state PTA asics running shoes approached him to take on the bill, which he said was because he experienced bullying as a child. Earlier this year, he invited Tabitha to testify in Sacramento, an experience she said made her feel like she some power. just felt like finally I could change something and make things better so no one would have to go through what I went through, she said.
Tiffany, 17, said it was painful to watch her sister cope. As a result, she got the idea for Kids Speak Up, a nonprofit that reaches out to other youth who have been bullied. The family, which runs the group, has since helped a girl who was physically abused during a PE class transfer to another sc asics running shoes hool.
The Bowles family continues to pay legal and medical fees associated with the 2007 incident.
Tabitha sees a therapist, but she said the San Marino teachers and administration are a tremendous factor in putting her at ease.
seemed to last forever, she said of the incident at Jefferson and its aftermath. I feel so much safer, and it’s a much more peaceful environment. Editor Bill Kisliuk contributed to this story.