Advertisement

Fox’s Banderas Slams School District Charging Mother $7K to Access Bullying Records

Advertisement

OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Fox News host Julie Banderas went scorched earth and condemned school bullying while speaking with a mother from Texas fighting the issue.

During an interview Tuesday morning, Banderas spoke with Terrie Chumchal about her fight to gain access to school records to examine how big of an issue bullying is in her Texas district. Chumchal wants to review public records regarding two years of severe, racially-charged abuse her son has faced from other students.

Chumchal said that school district lawyers told her that she needed to pay more than $7,000 in public records fees to get access to the documents. When Banderas welcomed Chumchal and attorney Warren Norred to the program, the Fox News host did not mince her words.

“I’m so sorry, as a mother, you have had to endure this,” she said.

Banderas slammed the school district for the incident, calling the bullying against Chumchal’s son, who is of Korean-American heritage, “absolutely despicable.”

Advertisement

Banderas called it “the latest instance in a troubling nationwide trend of public schools trying to use public records and fees to keep parents in the dark.”

“A parent should never, ever be left in the dark,” she continued. “Not on bullying, not on education. We have the right to know what’s happening to our children when they are in your care.”

Advertisement

Banderas was not buying that argument, saying “don’t give me that load of crap that you do not have records of every bully incident, considering the school district could be held liable if, God forbid, something happened to one of those kids. They are responsible for our children when they’re not under our roofs, so this sounds like a bunch of bull.”

Advertisement

Last week, the Daily Signal published a report on the incident and noted how the school district mocked the mother over her concerns.

A mother of a middle school student was shocked when the Joshua Independent School District in Joshua, Texas, charged her over $7,000 in public records fees to disclose how many bullying reports the district had received since 2015. The Goldwater Institute first reported this outrageous demand for a simple sum of documents. The mother is combatting the exorbitant fee via an appeal to the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

The mother, Terrie Chumchal, filed the request following the district’s lack of aid over a two-year period of vicious bullying in which her son repeatedly tried to obtain help from his school, Loflin Middle School. Chumchal told The Daily Signal that her son suffered several severe instances of bullying, often regarding his Korean heritage, over his sixth and seventh grade years—including a violent choking and sustaining a ruptured eardrum.

After receiving word of these incidents, Chumchal learned that the school’s closed-circuit television cameras had recorded some of these instances. Chumchal’s first response was to ask the assistant principal, Emma Rogers, if she could see the videos of her son being bullied to gain a better understanding of the situation. Rogers refused, informing Chumchal that she had no right to see the footage and that showing her would violate the offending students’ privacy.

Chumchal claims that over the next few months, the administration changed its description of the bullying incidents, minimizing them so they constituted lesser offenses. Because Chumchal has never seen the videos herself, she cannot confront the district on the changing stories. After filing multiple grievances, the district has allowed her to watch only three videos since September.

“Chumchal claims that as time progressed, Loflin Middle School began to intervene even less on behalf of her son. In several instances, Loflin refused to take disciplinary action after a group of students repeatedly harassed Chumchal’s son. In emails Chumchal provided to The Daily Signal, Assistant Principal Michael Clayton claimed that student harassment that originated off-campus didn’t fall under bullying per the district’s adopted Bullying Checklist For Schools, further claiming that it did not interfere with his educational opportunities or disrupt classroom operations. Loflin’s administration decided to simply separate the students,” the outlet reported.

Advertisement
Test your skills with this Quiz!