Three 8th grade San Jose students were suspended after they allegedly posted comments on Facebook with threats to kill a girl and "teach her a lesson," NBC Bay Area has learned.
Amada, the girl's mother who asked that her last name not be used, said three girls posted the comments Tuesday night. She said the posts mentioned "killing" her daughter, Cassandra, and "teaching her a lesson."
"My daughter came to me crying," Amada said. "This is all over a boy."
She said that as far as she knows, the boy in question likes her daughter, and not one of the girls who made the Facebook comments.
The students all attend Quimby Oak Middle School.
"I felt very threatened," Cassandra said. "I felt like they were actually going to physically hurt me."
Cassandra added that the girls later told her that they were "just joking around."
"It didn't seem like they were kidding," she said.
In a statement sent to NBC Bay Area on Wednesday, the Evergreen School District confirmed that "a few students were sending inappropriate and threatening messages" to a child "via Facebook." Because the threats had a potential impact on campus, school administrators "appropriately investigated" the matter, and police were notified.
San Jose Police Officer Jose Garcia said officers arrived at school Wednesday to check out the Facebook threats. The three girls were suspended and two were also cited for making criminal threats. They were released to their parents.
The statement from the school district only stated that "appropriate discipline was applied to all students involved."
Amada said her daughter went to school Wednesday, adding that it has been a very hard year for her 14-year-old.
"She used to be an honor roll student," Amada said. "This year, her grades have dropped. She's lost 20 to 30 pounds. She's afraid to go to the bathroom."
Amada added that her own father was murdered 23 years ago in Mexico by someone that the family knew. She said that's why she took this current threat against her daughter so seriously.
Cyberbullying, where people make threats on the Internet and through technology, is a troubling growing trend. There have been several high-profile cases where the teasing and threats have gotten so bad that children have taken their own lives. Megan Meier, a 13-year-old from Missouri, committed suicide when a group of people pretending to be a boy humiliated her on MySpace.
Kylie Kenney had to face years of websites created by classmates in Vermont that made homophobic remarks about her. In that case, police filed harassment charges.
And this week, Dharun Ravi, was ordered a 30-day jail sentence for spying and intimidating his gay roommate, Tyler Clementi, 18, who then jumped off New York's George Washington Bridge to his death in 2010. Prosecutors are appealing this punishment, saying the sentence is too light.
As to why Cassandra decided to speak publicly about the incident, and possibly face more teasing: "I don't think this is how kids are supposed to feel at all. It feels wrong. You should tell someone, and make sure someone knows what's going on. If there's a problem... don't keep it to yourself."
Contact Lisa Fernandez at 408-432-4758 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her at Twitter.com/ljfernandez.