Concerned mother says her daughter was threatened, attacked at Cullen Middle School


by Rucks Russell / KHOU 11 News

Posted on February 20, 2014 at 11:32 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 20 at 11:57 PM

HOUSTON -- School is supposed to be a safe haven for kids trying to learn, but what one girl says she’s had to endure at Cullen Middle School, no child should have to face.

“I always have to look behind me and watch my back,” said the girl. KHOU 11 News agreed not to identify her by name because she could be in danger.

She claimed that a group of girls known around campus as YGGM, or Young Girls Getting Money, began posting threatening messages to her over social media last week.

One message said “we’re gonna jump her,” and another message said “I’ll kill you.”

The girl said she immediately shared the threats with her mom, and her mom claims she took them right to the school administrator.

“The text messages showed the threats and the name of the gang,” said Tusdae Barnes. “And the threats said what they would do to my daughter. But he still did not believe that there were gangs in that school.”

But on Tuesday, the threats turned to violence when a fight erupted in the cafeteria.

“She comes behind me and she hits me,” the girl said.

And even though she considers herself the victim, she was placed in handcuffs by police and suspended for three days for fighting.

A family advocate believes the situation could have been avoided.

“What’s it going to take for Cullen Middle School and HISD to step in and do something to stop what is potentially going to happen,” asked Quanell X.

The girl at the center of it all said she has no clue why this group has it in for her.

Her mother just wants her daughter to feel safe at school.

“I refuse to lose my daughter over foolishness,” said Barnes.

HISD officials refute the mother’s claims. Spokesperson Sheleah Reed released the following statement:

“At HISD, providing a safe environment for our students is our top priority. Any form of bullying or harassment is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. As such, if an incident is reported to any school administrator - principal, counselor, teacher, etc. the district will immediately investigate the issue and take the appropriate action. Unfortunately, the situation presented by your station was never brought to our attention by the young lady or her parents. This limited our ability to intervene and respond accordingly in a timely manner.

We will continue to monitor the involved parties and provide mediation sessions as necessary to ensure all students are able to focus on learning.”