Robert Howard said he felt scared on Tuesday as some kids laughed at him just before one boy took an orange plastic traffic cone to his face.
“Like this tall and this wide. And it hit me right in my lip,” the 14-year-old freshman said, describing how big the cone was as it was hurled at him after PE class.
It resulted in a busted lip, causing a huge gash, that required a trip to the emergency room, where he got stitches to close the wound and stop the bleeding.
His mother, Sandy Howard, said the bullying at Kimball High School involving her son began last year.
“There was two incidents last year, where he came home crying — just bawling — showing me his hands and his knees. He was pushed down and he was bleeding,” she said, adding that her complaints to the principal went unheard until two weeks ago, when she met with school staff regarding her son’s curriculum and safety.
“The PE teacher came in and said, ‘Don’t worry about the bullying issues. We’ve separated the problems so he shouldn’t have anymore problems. We’re taking care of it,’ reassured me that we were OK,” Howard said. “Here we are two weeks later, I get a call that they’re rushing him to the emergency and that he’s got a busted lip.”
Robert has the mentality of a second-grade student and is considered borderline autistic.
“I’m different than them,” he said, which is the reason he believes he’s being singled out and picked on.
Although the principal didn’t talk specifics about this, he said he had seen pictures of Robert’s injury.
“Yes, I’ve seen the pictures, and all I can say is we’re conducting an investigation,” Principal Rob Pecot said.
“We pride ourselves in seeing student success and student safety. Anytime something happens challenges that, it’s a concern to us,” Pecot said.
“Principals, teachers, VPs, counselors, all need to be held accountable. Are we providing a safe environment for these children to excel? If it’s not happening, then they need to make changes,” said Gil Somera, an attorney hired by Howard.
Robert just wants to be left alone so he can go to school and not be scared anymore.
“I’m a fun kid and nice,” Robert said.
He has one simple goal.
“I wanna work at Disneyland that way I could blow up those balloons. Disneyland balloons,” Robert said.