Kimberly Wilson says her 8-year-old son Malachi Wilson is picked on every day at McKinley Elementary School.
“He has come home with marks and nosebleeds and stuff,” Wilson says. “The fifth graders tease him and hurt him. He's always in fights.”
She says it's become so bad, Malachi said this. "After school on a Thursday, he told the teacher he wanted to kill himself."
Wilson said she's told school officials about it. They've said they would investigate it, but she says nothing has happened yet.
"And, it's just not right when a child is going to an adult for help and they're sending the child away," she says. “I tell the school. They say the police and I call the police, and they say it’s a school matter.”
Wilson says Malachi hates going to school and she feels helpless sending him each day when he is constantly getting hurt.
It's something the Jacobsen Middle School principal in Tehachapi says she doesn't see as often anymore at her school.
"In my four years at this school, we've seen a decrease in bullying here,” Ortega says. “And, I’ve seen an increase in reporting."
Jacobsen is the school where 13-year-old Seth Walsh says he was bullied non-stop for being gay. He took his own life in 2010.
“I saw Seth the day that he checked out of our school and had given him a hug and told him how our school won't be the same without you,” she says. "When he did pass away, I asked the superintendent for special training because, while we know as administrators and teachers that bullying happens because it's happened to us as well when we were children more than likely, we don't know how to recognize it per se."
Ortega trains teachers across the state that the best way to stop bullying is to report it.
Staff at Jacobsen Middle School keep track of incidents by having students fill out a blank sheet with any issue they're having. There is a box in every classroom for students to drop a report.
In homeroom, Ortega reads a character-building message on the intercom and students do worksheets, which require personal reflection on their attitudes. Ortega says she, the school’s resource officer and counselor meet with each class and grade level regularly to discuss their Bulldog Basics, or discipline talks that explain what bullying is and provide strategies to understand it, cope with it, and report it.
17 News tried speaking with the principal at McKinley Elementary on Tuesday, but she wasn't at school.
The Bakersfield City School District's bullying policy states complaints of bullying will be investigated and resolved in accordance with site-level grievance procedures.