5th-grader doesn’t fight back against bullies, says it isn’t Jedi way

A fifth-grader in California had to go to the hospital after a classmate punched him after the alleged bully took his backpack.

It all started Monday morning before school.

Aiden Vasquez said that he had a feeling that he was going to have a bad day, KMIR reported.

His day, Vasquez said, started with the classmate calling him names. Then the boy took Vasquez’s backpack. When he tried to get it back, Vasquez said the classmate punched him in the face.

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When his mom saw his injuries, she was furious. But he told her he didn’t fight back.

"I told my mom, I got it from Star Wars, that it's not the Jedi way," Vasquez told KMIR.

Vasquez mom, Lizette Casanova, took a photo of her son and posted it to Facebook, saying that the school, Two Bunch Palms Elementary, didn't do enough to protect her son.

The school's principal sent a letter home to parents saying, "There are times when what is posted does not convey the complete story and can cause multiple rumors to circulate," KMIR reported.

The television station reached out to the Palm Springs Unified School District which said it could not comment because of confidentiality, but officials did tell KMIR that student safety is the district's priority.

Meanwhile, police said officers are investigating the incident as an assault, The Palm Springs Desert Sun reported.

And the day after Vasquez was beaten, he spoke with district officials, first privately with administrators and then publicly at the school board meeting.

He told the board, "All I want is for every single kid to be safe. All I want is for kids not to be bullied," the Desert Sun reported.

Ironically, the same night Vasquez addressed the board, with a swollen black eye and stitches, Two Bunch Palms Elementary School received an award from the district called Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) for providing a positive and emotionally safe learning environment, the Desert Sun reported.

Other parents also spoke about alleged bullying incidents at the school.

The district voted to support Vasquez and is looking for more dialogue with parents. Board members offered to sit down with parents over coffee to talk about the concerns, the Desert Sun reported.

The district says that all incidents that are reported are investigated.

“All reported incidents related to student safety are taken extremely seriously, investigated thoroughly and responded to appropriately relative to administering appropriate discipline measures to students who threaten the safety of one or more students on or off campuses,” Joan Boiko, the district spokeswoman said. “If a child physically injures or bullies another student, consequences could include school suspension.”

Casanova said that administrators are still not doing enough and is considering moving her son to a different school, the Desert Sun reported.

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