OC parent claims daughter was bullied and called 'slave' at school; calls out district

"They're sweeping it underneath the rug," said Jasmine Harris, who said she was ready to pull her daughter out of the district.

Jessica De Nova Image
Tuesday, March 7, 2023
OC mom claims daughter was bullied, called 'slave' at school
The woman claims her daughter, a 5th grader at Santiago Elementary School, was playing with friends when a classmate allegedly whipped a jump rope at her and told her to "Get back to work, you slave."

SANTA ANA, Calif. (KABC) -- The mother of a Santiago Elementary School 5th grader said she was left with no choice but to hold a demonstration outside the campus Monday after claiming another student attacked her daughter with an offensive, racially charged comment.

"They're sweeping it underneath the rug," said Jasmine Harris, who said she was ready to pull her 10-year-old out of the school district.

The mother said the incident happened on Wednesday, March 1.

She claims her daughter, Paris Barnes, was playing with friends at lunchtime when she said a classmate whipped a jump rope toward her and told her to "Get back to work, you slave."

"It was very disrespectful and I just felt really hurt inside," Barnes said.

The mom said she was not satisfied with the response from administrators on campus or the staff at the Santa Ana Unified School District. She took to social media, demanding answers.

She wanted to know whether the other 5th grader involved was being disciplined.

"I want the little boy to get expelled. I want them to do something about this," Harris said.

Harris told Eyewitness News because the other student involved is a minor, she went to the Orange County District Attorney's Office to press charges against him, including hate crime and attempted assault on a minor. A spokesperson with the OCDA's office told ABC7 they could not comment on cases involving a juvenile.

Other parents, including Jessica Garcia and Maria Gomez, were among about a dozen protestors on Monday, expressing dissatisfaction with how bullying was handled at the school.

"I don't think it's fair that so many parents are going through the same thing," said Garcia. " They see that it's so many kids involved and there's nothing being done about it,"

"There's clearly a [systemic] issue that no one is paying attention to," Gomez said.

The school district's superintendent, Jerry Almendarez, said his staff is working to sit down with the families involved and make both parties a part of a solution, pointing to a formal independent investigation underway.

"My heart goes out to Paris, to the young lady, and I just want to make sure that she gets the support that the student needs, but also making sure that we also provide the support so this doesn't happen again," Almendarez said.

"I'm not really comfortable going back to school because I don't know if he'll do it again because no one really, like, said if he was going to be in that much trouble," Barnes said.

A spokesperson with the school district told Eyewitness News they could not make any information on disciplinary action of a student public.