‘Must be kept safe’: Mother calls for changes after son is assaulted by Bellaire High School students

HOUSTON – Houston ISD confirmed Monday that administrators were investigating allegations of bullying at Bellaire High School, culminating in a student being beaten on campus by the same students who had been taunting him.

“He had multiple contusions on his head, in the back of his head, on his face, and he suffered a fractured nose,” said Anita Daniels.

Daniels’ son, a ninth-grader, had been enrolled at Bellaire High School for three weeks when a group of students attacked him in a hallway on April 1. Video of the fight, which another student posted to social media, showed Daniels’ son being punched and kicked repeatedly by several students, as pleas for the group to stop were ignored.

“I’m sending my child to school to be treated like this,” Daniels asked, documenting her son’s struggle.

According to Daniels, the attack was at the hands of students who had been bullying her son. She said administrators at Bellaire High School knew about the bullying allegations because days earlier, the same group tried to fight him. Despite that, Daniels continued, school administrators did not respond to her request for a meeting about safety protocol. On April 1, as she dropped off her son, she decided to go inside the school and demand a meeting. She said she didn’t feel safe leaving her son without the reassurance of his well-being.

“I said I just got a feeling about this,” Daniels said. Her intuition -- an unease about what could happen.

That hunch gave way to horror when, as she was meeting with an administrator, a campus police officer entered the room with her son. He had been beaten, and the attack occurred while she was feet away, in another part of the building, seeking confirmation he would be safe.

“Just seconds the police escorted my son in. I could not believe what I was seeing.”

Daniels said she brought her son to an emergency room for treatment. He had bruises all over his body, along with a broken nose. Daniels said when she attempted to contact school administrators about the attack, her calls went unanswered. After two weeks of waiting, she took her son’s story to last week’s HISD trustee meeting, detailing the experience during a public comment period.

“My son had only been there three weeks. He is at home. And he has been since April first,” Daniels said to the trustee board, her voice cracking as she fought tears.

Daniels also told the board that she had transferred her son to Bellaire because he had been bullied at Lamar High School, adding previous incidents had been documented. After she spoke, Daniels said several trustees walked over to console her, as did a district administrator who told her she hadn’t heard about her son until then.

Since then, Daniels said HISD administration has been in constant contact with her, adding district leaders told her no one from Bellaire had informed them about the attack.

“No one even sent an incident report to the proper people, who they were supposed to send a report to,” Daniels lamented, questioning whether the school had her son’s best interest at heart.

A spokesperson for HISD confirmed to KPRC 2 the allegations were being investigated by the district administration.

“HISD Police is investigating and administrators will be looking into the cause of the altercation and continue to evaluate ways to prevent these occurrences in the future,” the district said Monday in a statement.

In the meantime, Daniels’ son has been out of school for eighteen days recovering. She said her son, who receives ongoing medical treatment and therapy, as a result of continued bullying, should be granted Homebound Services through the district, allowing him to finish the school year from home, as she secures plans for the following school year.

Daniels, the founder of Anita D. Designer Foundation, a non-profit that’s helped to provide PPE and other COVID-19 safeguards to communities in need, including HISD, expressed concern administrators at Bellaire High School ignored her requests for help.

“I feel that [my son] has been a target of gang-related crimes and he must be kept safe at this point,” Daniels said.