RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif.- A student at Mills Middle School was bullied to the point where her parents pulled her out of school.
Brent Lewis said his 10-year-old daughter, McKenzie, had to go to the hospital after being elbowed in the stomach by a classmate. In 2015, she had a bad bike accident that landed her in the hospital where she had to get an emergency pancreatic surgery.
She lost 80 percent of her pancreas and could no longer digest food like most people. Her near-death experience is also the reason why she's now being bullied.
"They call me ugly, can't fit in because I'm too skinny," McKenzie said. "Rude names no kid should be saying at 10, 11 years old.
In some of the notes she received from classmates, expletives were used.
One said: "You know you're ugly, right?"
Those notes soon turned physical. In September, McKenzie spent four days in the hospital after getting elbowed in the stomach.
She and her father Brent think it was intentional because many of the classmates knew she had surgery there.
Just last week, she was hit again, this time in the face. That was the last straw for Brent, who not only was concerned about McKenzie's safety, but added that he knows she's not the only kid who goes through bullying.
McKenzie said she knows she's not alone and underneath the hurt, is a fighter.
"I'm getting a lot of support. I wouldn't have made it without family or people supporting me," McKenzie said.
Just like getting back on the bike after a bad fall, recovering from these incidents won't be easy for McKenzie. But with her loved ones by her side, she'll once again shift her fear into healing.
A spokesperson for the Rancho Cordova school district said both incidents at Mills Middle School have been investigated:
In both Mills Middle School incidents described by the family, school administration launched investigations. In the first incident, the school was unable to gather sufficient evidence or witnesses to take disciplinary action. In the second, most recent incident, another student was disciplined in connection with that matter.
Our schools will also continue their ongoing work with students, staff and families to foster positive learning environments, create cultures of kindness on our campuses, and respond swiftly and thoroughly to any incidents of bullying or mistreatment.
The district adds that they won't tolerate behavior that impairs a student's ability to learn in a safe, welcoming environment. They also said that a Child Welfare Coordinator has reached out to the Lewis family and have encouraged them to file a formal complaint.