Found images by LouLou Schiavo
Such a pity America’s laws protecting us from violence seem terribly ineffective. Law enforcement will not intervene until an actual crime is committed, quite often too late as victims already suffered assault or God forbid worse.
LouLou learned plenty during her first week of school ever, starting February 26, 2018. She graduated nine days later March 9th with flying colors, at, of all places, San Diego Police Headquarters, a block from the Urban Discovery Academy where we, as parents, should not have enrolled her.
Following nine days being bullied by fellow homeroom students, in conjunction with deflection, denial and defending by UDA’s outgoing principal, Diana Cornejo-Sanchez — counselor, Loreleigh Chung — including several teachers, it became apparent LouLou’s homeroom verbal abuse and physical injuries she braved through outside of class would continue; these incidents turned more severe each day. Started day two with ringleader, N, a fourteen-year-old girl who threatened LouLou firing, “You better watch your back.” Prior day LouLou was on her way to class with E who asked her, “How was class?” LouLou responded with two passing comments about N’s ill classroom behavior, expressing it was “obnoxious” and “she’s kind of an airhead.” E instantly reported back to N, which prompted N’s threatening words to LouLou. Rather than solely absorb N’s threat, LouLou confided in the school counselor inquiring, “What should I do?” Their conversation concluded with LouLou shortly thereafter apologizing to N who responded, “Okay, no problem.” Not true. Soon afterward LouLou asked a question in humanities class; N sarcastically blurted in front of the entire room and teacher, “What a stupid question.” Later, a boy behind LouLou needled her, “I bet you didn’t do anything being homeschooled.”
I wasn’t privy to this abuse her first week; I was out of town working in Dallas, San Francisco and Mendocino. The last bit of encouragement I offered LouLou before leaving,“I have the utmost confidence in you; I’d never ask you to do something you’re not capable of.” A blatant yellow flag (if not red) shot up speaking with LouLou by phone while I was in San Francisco. Asking her how school was that day she casually answered, “Some kids were fooling around with box cutters in class today,” as if this should be a regular occurrence at school. Little did I know four days later LouLou would be ambushed, then dragged against her will into the school bathroom by N’s girlfriends demanding she wash off a Marilyn beauty mark on her cheek. Meanwhile N lie in wait sitting on the bathroom sink watching LouLou struggle in the doorway, reiterating her posse’s order, “You better wash it off.” Five day later, unaware any of this transpired, once at home, I questioned where did the fingernail scab imprint on her arm come from; she immediately brushed it off, “I don’t know.”
During Math/Science period Ms. Bayliss was seated giving directives, for whatever reason LouLou and the entire class were standing. Ms. Bayliss lifted her head to ask, “Whoever is banging something, stop it!” Following three attempts Ms. Bayliss asked, “Can someone please tell me who’s making that noise?” LouLou nearby took the request for face value, naively whispering, “tall, afro” for fear mentioning W’s name. Immediately thereafter students issued LouLou their threats, “Snitches get stitches.”
LouLou was in every aspect completely ecstatic about starting school; a brand new experience to broaden her knowledge, while meeting kids her age. The mere idea of losing this dream come true sent her resiliently rushing back day after day believing their ridicule and physical abuse would eventually end. Two days after returning home, Urban Discovery Academy had a previously scheduled quarterly parent-teacher conference. Jeanette, LouLou and I sat across from her homeroom teacher, Ellis Clay (covering Humanities/English) Señora Kennedy (her Spanish teacher) and Melinda Bayliss (for Math/Science). Six of us exchanged pleasantries, all agreed LouLou needed most attention in Math. Conversation then shifted to Clay who inexplicably told us, “it’s a dog eat dog class.” Mortified to say the least, I asked Clay to clarify his comment. Officer Moore, who interviewed LouLou two days later seemed visibly shaken hearing Clay’s poor choice of words. Perhaps more so than LouLou describing the bathroom incident or being hit in the mouth by A’s fastpitch (coincidentally, N’s boyfriend). Even why we were there, to file a police report — LouLou’s four square inch knee abrasions with bruising brought on feeling petrified A might repeat his aggression a day prior, only this day running toward her full speed playing capture the flag.
UDA doesn’t have a nurse. Mr. Carson, an administrative assistant handed LouLou some bandaids, then complained, seemingly impositioned, when LouLou requested more saying, “What do you need extras for?” All he had to do was look at her knees, clearly a few bandaids wouldn’t cover her wounds. Not one employee at her school called or emailed Jeanette to explain: LouLou hit her nose, chin, elbow and removed several layers of skin from her knees on their playground. Astonishingly, no one since has been curious enough to follow-up wondering how LouLou is doing. Accident or not, A didn’t apologize for hitting LouLou’s mouth with the tennis ball. He’s a star pitcher apparently, true to form, A failed to help or offer, “I’m sorry” for the injuries LouLou suffered as a direct result of his hostile intimidation. I’m livid, although try to invite Jesus’ immortal words, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they do.”
Walls of education and thoughtful parenting shape what we hope to be a civilized society. Wild conduct condoned at UDA is secondary, parental guidance is number one; ultimately parents too must be held accountable. Now, if Judge C’s daughter, N, had persuaded her three impressionable girlfriends to trip LouLou down the school stairs, making LouLou’s current recovery time a different story altogether (injury of spinal cord, neck or back) who then should be held accountable? Just N’s pliable girlfriends or C’s scheming daughter too? In any event, March 9th’s police report, conducted by Officer Moore, will be public record in a matter of days; maybe LouLou’s transcript will pique a sharp detective’s interest for further investigation. At the minimum this post puts Urban Discovery Academy on deserved notice for their brazen negligence.
Upon returning to class after bandaging her own knees, a female classmate prodded LouLou, “How does gravel taste?” UDA’s outgoing principal, Diana Cornejo-Sanchez, has no skin in the game; she suggested N and LouLou sit down and talk it out. Instead, Jeanette demanded for the third time LouLou change homerooms. Jeanette’s request was denied, “absolutely not” she closed by saying, “The eighth grade would be off balance 30-27.”
I spoke with LouLou regarding the bigger picture: how the world doesn’t always appoint the finest role models we look up to, especially those holding prestigious positions of power. Either Judge C is impartial at home, turning a blind eye to his cunning daughter or conveniently compartmentalizes his sound logic elsewhere — set aside for the United States District Court where he presides.