TOMBALL, Texas — As third-grader Christian Boynton continues to recover from a serious head injury, the school where he was attacked calls it "an isolated incident between a few students."
Christian's sister Kailee Boynton says the 8-year-old was punched and kicked by a group of bullies at Lakewood Elementary in Tomball.
Lakewood principal Deanna Porter issued a statement Thursday that appeared to imply the Christian's family isn't telling the truth.
"Based on our limited ability to share our investigation details due to privacy requirements, please be aware that what you are reading and in the information being portrayed in the media and on social media is inconsistent with our investigation," Porter wrote. (Read the full letter below)
Porter also appeared to contradict the family's story that Christian was taken to the hospital by ambulance and treated for a serious brain injury.
"This week, there was an incident involving a group of our students in a restroom on campus, resulting in one student being taken by his parents to be seen by medical professionals," Porter's letter said. "The student was released home later that day."
According to Christian's parents and sister, the boy was first taken to Tomball Regional Hospital for an MRI and chest X-ray.
"It was there that he was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma -- he was bleeding from his brain. He was transferred to Texas Children's via ambulance and treated there. After several hours of observation he was allowed to come home," Kailee posted on Facebook in response to Porter's letter.
Christian's family said they are "deeply saddened" by the response from Lakewood and want more than a letter from Porter.
"To have this "isolated incident" be taken so lightly and then to have it be downplayed as if it wasn't something incredibly serious is infuriating," Kailee posted. "It's concerning to me that they say safety is their first priority."
Porter said the boys who attacked Christian will be punished.
"Tomball ISD nor Lakewood Elementary tolerates this kind of behavior and will administer disciplinary actions," her letter said. She said can't release more details because of privacy laws.
Tomball police said Thursday the bullies won't face criminal charges because they're too young.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) requires that “schools have written permission from the parent or eligible student to release information about the student’s educational record.”
However, when it comes to what happened to Boynton, parents at Lakewood Elementary want more than a letter from principal Deanna Porter.
“It’s worrisome,” Jessica, mother of a Lakewood Kindergarten student said. “It makes you think what else is being hidden. Are the kids going to be protected? Is my kid safe to go here? Are they going to have somebody in the bathroom now to make sure this doesn’t happen again?”
KHOU 11 News Legal Analyst Gerald Treece said Boynton’s family could sue if unhappy with how the district handled the matter. If the alleged bullies get expelled, each will likely have private hearings, Treece said.
Boynton’s family would be among the few informed of what happens, though, Treece added.
“Because they are children and like you said there are privacy laws that are in place, I don’t think it’s important that we get the specific details of (the incident),” said Justin Sammons who has 3rd grade and Kindergarten students attending Lakewood Elementary. “But I think it is important that we understand both sides of the story.”
Jessica told KHOU 11 News her daughter came home complaining about a bully Thursday afternoon.
“She said yeah mom somebody threatened me too,” Jessica said.
Now, Jessica wants to know who did what and if the students involved in Boynton’s attack are still allowed on campus.
“The parents at the school have some rights to be informed about what is going on,” Treece said. “But the more specific the information the less likely they’re to get it because the privacy rights outweigh their individual rights. So it may be subject to litigation. The smart thing the school district can do is call a meeting of all these people involved. Explain to them what’s happening and then move forward.”
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