TURLOCK, Calif. — A Turlock family says their 17-year-old daughter was attacked at school by another student, her mother and another adult. They say it was salt in the wound when their child was also suspended.
The 17-year-old honor roll student, who didn't want to be named or shown on camera, thought of school as a safe place.
"For five years of my life, school was my only way out of a lot of abuse. It was like my safe zone. It was the way I could prove to people that I was a good kid," she said.
But she now says her sense of safety has been shattered. It started when she apparently laughed at her peer during a volleyball game last week.
“She hit the ball really funny, and I did laugh," she said.
She said she’s not a fighter and thought she deescalated the tensions, but on Monday, the student attacked her at the encouragement of her mother, who joined the beat down with another adult.
"The mom reached around, grabbed my daughter by her hair, pulls her around the staff members, gets her out of the safety zone that she's in, pulls her around and they all began to start wailing on my daughter," said Amanda Villareal, the 17-year-old's adoptive mother.
Sgt. Mike Parmley with Turlock Police Department told ABC10 the department is still working on the full incident report, but he confirmed that at least one adult woman and juvenile girl were arrested in the incident.
The woman was identified as Shameka Quenette Tanner, 37. She faces charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and battery on school grounds. The juvenile was also arrested on charges of battery on school grounds.
Villarreal says school officials did little to protect her daughter, even as she was getting beaten.
"You should have never left my child underneath two adults and a student getting attacked without you!" Villareal said.
She said that she understands staff members also need to be safe, but she questioned where campus security was during the fight.
Her child is under a five-day suspension, which is on her permanent record. They've been told it is because she called the student and the women names during the altercation.
"People have this expectation of me to be so perfect. I'm not. At that point, I was mad, and any other kid would have reacted the same way or even worse," the 17-year-old said.
By all accounts, Villarreal's daughter is a star student recognized by the district for her empathy just last month. The young woman says her reaction was valid, and that she should not be punished.
The family is demanding the suspension be lifted.
“These types of things negatively affect her citizenship, her wellbeing and her livelihood, not just her education,” Villareal said.
She wants the school to increase safety and security on campus. But the 17-year-old also had one last request, understanding that hurt people sometimes hurt other people.
"I want them to check on the girl and I want them to make sure she's OK, and I want them to make sure she's really OK. I want them to make sure that the house she lives in a safe environment, and that the people she lives with are safe for her," the 17-year-old said.
ABC10 reached out to the Turlock Unified School District (TUSD) which sent this statement:
The safety of our students and security of our schools is of utmost importance in TUSD. We appreciate the support of Turlock Police Department’s investigation into this unfortunate incident. All involved parties have been held accountable and response to student conduct aligned to TUSD’s Positive Student Accountability Code.