Reading SD fires back after Citadel Intermediate School fight video allegations
Updated On: Jan 10 2013 08:39:57 AM CST
The Reading School District has responded to allegations that they didn't do enough to protect a student from bullying.
The accusations all stems from a fist fight between two young girls captured on cell phone video last Thursday near the Citadel Intermediate High School.
Reylinn Irizarry, 13, was one of the girls involved in the fight, and Wednesday morning, she was released from a juvenile detention center where she was held for two days.
"I was scared. I was depressed," said Irizarry.
Reylinn's mother, Raquel Rosario, 43, and her sister, Precious Irizarry, 22, are facing criminal charges for allegedly encouraging the fight.
Both women say they have been wrongly accused and say they were only telling their loved one, Reylinn, to defend herself.
"They're going to try to keep twisting it," said Rosario, referring to authorities. "Hopefully with my lawyer, he's going to set the record straight."
Rosario says her daughter has been the victim of bullying for months, and alleges the school hasn't done enough to protect her daughter.
The school district fired back with this statement:
"The allegations that the school district did not respond to this mother and her daughter are untrue. Staff, counselors and security at the Reading Intermediate High School addressed all previous issues brought to our attention, though none of those issues or concerns involved the second girl shown in the fight recorded on video. We took a number of steps to address this student’s concerns. However, due to FERPA (Family Educational Rights to Privacy Act), we cannot further discuss information [about] a student’s records."
Rosario was not convinced by the school district's statement.
"If they would have helped me, this wouldn't have happened," said Rosario.
Rosario, who says she worked for the Reading School District for 14 years helping special needs students, adds that she was disappointed by the way the school handled her complaints.
"Being an ex-staff member, not to give me privileges, but at least to hear me out a little bit more. At least to take into consideration that I was one of them at one time for 14 years. I loved that job. I loved the kids I used to work with.
"I used to get up every morning, not waiting for my paycheck at the end of the week, I was there for these kids," said Rosario in a tearful interview.
69 News showed the video of the melee to school board director Rebecca Acosta and she says she will be calling for a review of the district's anti-bullying policies.
"We need to get our policies up to date, because there's a lot of cyber bullying going on and I know that can be very damaging for our teenagers."
Berks County District Attorney, John Adams, is not budging on the charges.
"I've personally reviewed the video," said Adams, "and believe the charges are warranted."
Raquel Rosario and her family members say, with the help of their attorney, they plan to fight the charges until their names are cleared.
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