Jermaine Pigee, The Hawk Eye, Burlington, Iowa –
COLUMBUS JUNCTION – Remigio Ramirez is unable to ride the school bus to Roundy Elementary School in Columbus Junction without fear.
That’s because the 5-year-old kindergartner has been bullied since the start of the school year.
Remigio has been picked on by another student in the same grade on three occasions on a school bus, the latest attack resulting in a swollen eye and bumps and bruises on Remigio’s head and face that resulted in a trip to the doctor’s office for head X-rays.
The latest incident took place Wednesday, also at the back of a school bus.
“I don’t want people to think this is a race issue,” said his mother, Carlota Ramirez. “It’s bullying at the kindergarten level.”
Ramirez added both students were assigned to sit next to each other on the bus.
In another instance, Remigio was left with a bloody nose at the hands of the same student. In a separate incident, the same child pushed him to the ground.
“It was just a pattern, and I should have reported it from day one,” Ramirez said. “The previous incidents were not documented, and they should have been.”
Remigio is at home resting from his injuries.
After the attack, Remigio was taken to a hospital for precautionary reasons. Doctors recommended Remigio remain at home for the rest of the week to recover from his injuries.
Not only is the other student the same age as Remigio, his mother, who declined to name the other student, also is bigger than Remigio.
“The school district should be more accountable for the child’s safety on the bus,” Ramirez said. “The children were unattended and unsupervised on the bus.”
According to Ramirez, the bus driver and another staff member were on the bus when the incident happened.
“When the bus driver and another staff member were in the front of the bus, they didn’t hear or see the students, who were on the back of the bus,” Ramirez said. “Since the kids are so small, the bus driver probably didn’t see the kids.”
Ramirez filed a report with the Columbus Junction Police Department.
Police officials declined to release the report, pending a statement from the school district.
“You trust that your kids will be OK when they go to school and not get hurt,” Ramirez said. “My child was healthy when he left for school, and he came back with bumps on his head and a swollen eye.”
Ramirez also asked Shane Rosenberg, principal of Roundy Elementary School, to move her child into a different classroom and onto a different bus, since both students are in the same classroom and ride the same bus.
“I’m wondering if it will be good for my son to see the same child,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez said it remains a mystery as to why the other child would bully Remigio.
“He is only 5 years old, and he is a bright, mild-mannered student,” Ramirez said. “The school district should be responsible for this, because this should not have happened. They should have had someone else monitoring those students on the bus.”
Rosenberg, Superintedent Marlene Johnson and Marsha Gerot, president of the school board, all were unavailable for comment Thursday.