LORENA, TX — Charity Cervantez watched her daughter, Emma, lose her confidence and eventually needed to pull her out of school due to constant bullying.
Wanting to share their story, the Cervantezes hope to show other families the true impacts of bullying on children. They want to demand change, so bullied students like Emma can return to school happy.
"I watched my child last year go from 108 pounds to 92 quick," said Charity.
Emma started 9th grade at Lorena High. Little did she know though it wasn't going to be the start of high school she expected.
She wanted to join the volley ball team. There, she says, is where the bullying all started.
"She was going to cuss at you. She was going to be ugly, and that was just accepted," Charity shared, referring to another girl who sent Emma an inappropriate video of two men to her phone.
The mother said that student would then begin circulating an edited picture of Emma next to a blob fish on Instagram.
"Emma questioned her, why did you put the picture of me? Her boyfriend had just told her. She [the student] said, "Oh yeah, I did that a long time ago. That's funny. I used to hate you,"" Charity shared.
Dr. Christopher Taylor, a professional counselor, says bullying among children can be detrimental on both sides.
"Sadly, it can have many, many effects. There's this socialization just so damaging to self-esteem or just damaging self-awareness since it can cause depression," Dr. Taylor shared.
The bullying continued though, even after many reports made by Emma and Charity.
"I take her into the doctor. She's diagnosed with situational anxiety due to bullying," Charity said.
That's when Emma got a text from a friend.
"There was an account under Emma's name asking freshman boys for nude pictures," her mother shared.
On top of the COVID-19 pandemic, children, especially ones in high school, are under a lot of stress.
"I think all kids have been suffering from this. Bullies and the bullied alike, everyone is experiencing more pain because of this environment," Dr. Taylor said.
For Emma though, this pandemic became a blessing.
"A sense of relief. We could breathe. Emma put back on some weight. My child was coming back," Charity said.
For now, Emma is still home schooled, waiting for the time she can feel like a normal kid again, playing volleyball once more.
"To get my spot back on the team, to be able to play, because volleyball is really the only thing I looked forward to at school, and then it just got ruined," said Emma.
After much back and forth with the district, the Cervantez family feels they've made some headway.
Due to the range of possible issues, an outside investigation was requested by the district.
25 News reached out to Lorena ISD, who issued the following statement.
"Due to the pending investigation, and student privacy concerns, the District is unable to comment at this time."
If you, or anyone you know is experiencing bullying or becoming one themselves,contact the Stop Bullying Now Hot Line at 1-800-273-8255, available 24/7 and set up by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.