As many as five students may have taken part in the bullying of a disabled Madrid high school student who committed suicide last Friday, according to a police complaint filed by her family.
The April 29 report – obtained by EL PAÍS – states that “around four or five students” were involved in harassing the girl. The names of the alleged culprits have been circulating on the social networks since news broke that the 16-year-old had taken her own life because she could no longer stand the situation.
Why did you tell them? If you keep squealing, my cousins will come after you,” the boy told her
“Slut, what are you saying about me?” reads part of the text message that was sent to the girl’s phone and is included in the police report. “You are going to have to give me €50 or I am going with my cousins and other people to beat you up.”
On Monday, Madrid education department officials suspended the principal of Ciudad de Jaén High School in Usera, where the girl attended classes, for not following protocols in reporting the incident. A full investigation is still underway.
The girl went with her mother to the police station in Usera after school officials advised them to do so.
On Monday, students and parents held a ceremony in the girl’s memory in the schoolyard where they placed flowers, photographs and candles.
“You are very brave”
The student who was bullied was shy, introverted and not very popular at school. But she was much loved by those who knew her well.
On Monday, her classmates held a ceremony for her at Ciudad de Jaén High School, located in Madrid’s Usera neighborhood, where she also lived with her parents and younger brother.
Parents and teachers gathered in the schoolyard where flowers, photographs and candles were placed around an altar.
“You were a friend who was always concerned about others and you stuck up for those who cared for you,” one girl wrote on a Post-it note.
“You always offered to go up to the blackboard. You are very brave. Our class will not be the same without you,” wrote another student.
On more than one occasion her friends stood up to the alleged bully. “Leave her alone. You are preying on the weak,” they said.
On Friday, when school officials announced that the girl had died because of “an accident” one of her friends cried uncontrollably, repeating the boy’s name: “It was because of him!”
Classmates explained that the 16-year-old girl and the boy had been friends for two years. But she told another friend that she no longer trusted him. When he found out, the bullying, insults and harassment began.
The shy and discreet teenager, according to her classmates, had told her teachers what was happening.
In the first police complaint – which was expanded on May 18 – the girl explained how she had been receiving text and voice messages from a 17-year-old male student. She said she received the first threatening message on February 15, more than three months before her suicide.
The boy would demand money and insult her by phone and in person.
On one occasion, they agreed to meet so she could give him the €50, which she saved by running errands for elderly people over a two-week period – the deadline he gave her to give him the money. He later used it to buy a subway transport pass.
When the boy found out that the girl had been speaking with her teachers about the incident, he confronted her in the schoolyard. “Why did you tell them? If you keep on squealing, my cousins are going to come after you.”
The girl also told authorities that the 17-year-old was also pressuring other students to give him money and that school officials knew about this.
“Our conscience is clear because we did everything possible to help her,” wrote suspended school principal Luis Carlos Pérez Aguado on the internet after it was announced that he was under disciplinary investigation.
Teachers met with both families and told them about the problem, according to different sources at the school.
They filled out the lengthy form required to report school harassment but, according to sources, the education inspector just perused it and failed to take it with her.
Days later on May 14, the school’s director of studies ran into the inspector at the police station, where she had just given a statement in the girl’s case, and she reiterated that the situation was serious.
Nevertheless, the Madrid regional education department has disputed that these action had been taken and decided to suspend school principal Pérez Aguado for not “following standard protocols in reporting the alleged school bullying incident when he learned about the case.”
He should have taken his complaint to the district level or directly to education inspection authorities, an education department statement said on Monday.
According to school sources, the principal learned of his temporary suspension in the media.
The girl, who had mobility problems and learning disabilities, went back with her mother to the police station on May 18 to amend the original complaint to explain that she was being bullied not by just one person but a group of students.
Fellow classmates explained that the 17-year-old boy would “throw water” on the girl, “nudge her with his elbow,” and “force her to do his school work.”
But several teachers told EL PAÍS that the alleged bully was “also a victim” – a boy with poor grades who comes from a “very complex” family. Instead of expelling him, the school had forced him to spend 10 days in detention hall while classes were being held. He was permitted no recess period and his cellphone was taken away, which prevented him from contacting the girl while he was at school.