HOUSTON -- Since the death of a 13-year-old Hamilton Middle School student, who committed suicide allegedly because he was bullied by classmates, 11 News has received a barrage of e-mails from other parents who say Cy-Fair ISD isn't doing enough.
“My son was bullied at Black Elementary the year prior, nobody did anything for him," one parent wrote.
"We struggled by what seemed to be inaction, or what seemed to be a kids-will-be-kids attitude by the school staff," another person wrote.
11 News talked exclusively Tuesday with a family whose son was Asher Brown's classmate and friend. They said their 14-year-old son was also bullied and had thoughts of suicide.
Garrett McDaniel said he can't remember how many times he's been taunted and hit.
"I probably wouldn't have to give a number, all I know it's a lot," the eighth-grader said. "When I try to avoid fights, they call me a wimp.”
His dad, Jeffrey McDaniel, said his son was a target because Garrett is autistic. He said he complained to Hamilton Middle School 10 times in the past two years.
"We were told ‘we will handle it,’ but we never saw resolution," Jeffrey McDaniel said.
Asher’s parents had the same complaint. School officials say they have no record of the Brown family complaining. The Cy-Fair Independent School District and the District Attorney are investigating the matter.
"I don't think they have a good enough system in place of disciplinary action, that would deter children who have a propensity to bully," said Garrett’s mother, Roxie McDaniel.
According to the Cy-Fair Student Code of Conduct, on a scale of one to five, bullying is considered a level-three violation.
The McDaniel family says district officials failed to follow its own guidelines in dealing with their complaints.
The McDaniels do have a record of complaints and they displayed an e-mail sent to Garrett’s math teacher last year:
"I need to see if I can get your help with Garrett, he claims students in class are constantly calling him names. I was hoping Garrett would ignore the behavior, and they would stop, but it seems to be getting worse," his parents wrote.
The teacher, Mrs. Dickey, replied the next day saying:
“I have spoken with both boys. They didn't seem to know what I was talking about, they only said they teased him in a fun way, not a mean way. I told them in no uncertain terms that they were not to tease, hassle or correct Garrett, they assured me they would not."
Garrett's family said the bullying stopped for a couple of weeks, then started again.
The family said they were later told the teacher should have filed an incident report with the assistant principal.
11 News took their complaints to the school district looking for answers, and a spokesperson said Cy-Fair's policy prevents them from talking about specific complaints.
Then, late Tuesday afternoon, 11 News got an e-mail about the district's policy on bullying:
“Any student who believes that he or she has experienced bullying, or believes that another student has experienced bullying, should immediately report the alleged acts to a teacher, counselor, principal, or other district employee. A report may be made orally or in writing."
Garrett and Asher entered Hamilton Middle School in the sixth grade, and were in choir together.
Garrett’s mother said he has also thought of taking his own life.
"He was at school and the counselor had a session with him, and he had raised the issue with her that he felt like killing himself, because he was tired of the bullying, he was tired of not having any friends," she said.
The family said it was a wakeup call, and they immediately sent their son to get counseling. Now he goes once a week.
Garrett’s family said the bullying at Hamilton Middle School has stopped since Asher died.