September 29, 2016
Parents Of California Special-Needs Teen Say Bullies Urinated Into His Water Bottle, School Officials Blew Them Off

The parents of a California teenager with special needs say that bullies poured out the water in his water bottle and urinated into it, then got the cold shoulder when they tried to take their concerns to school officials.

As KTXL (Sacramento) reports, the issue first came to light Tuesday night on social media. On a Facebook thread for local issues around the Folsom area, Hilda Lozano, mother of 14-year-old Michael Lozano, recalled a tearful phone call she got from her son, who has autism.

Michael said that he returned to his locker in a locker room and found that someone had urinated in his water bottle.
"He said he smelled it... and it smelled bad and then he poured it out in the drain holes inside of the gym so the water goes in, and it was yellow and foamy."
As it turns out, Michael's parents happened to be at Folsom High School at when it happened, having been there to discuss Michael's Individual Education Plan. Hilda told her son to bring the bottle to her so she could show it to school officials, but she was rebuffed.
"Apparently the school's vice principal took the bottle from him, poured out the urine and then washed the bottle with soap and water and then sent him to me."
Michael's father, Ricardo Lozano, says that school officials didn't take his concerns seriously.
"Their attitude was 'We'll get around to it when we get to it. When we get out of our meetings and do stuff, then we'll address your concerns.' That's the perception we got, which I'm pretty sure if they had children in their school and they were special needs and someone had urinated in their kids' water bottle, they would think it's an urgent concern."
As in all cases involving students and what happens to them inside of a public school, school officials are constrained in how much they can say about any particular situation due to privacy laws. And this case is no exception: Daniel Thigpen, with the Folsom Cordova Unified School District, issued a statement stating that he is aware of the allegations but cannot comment further.
"As in all investigations involving potential student discipline, I cannot discuss specific details in order to protect the privacy of students involved."
The issue of bullying is still fresh in the minds of parents, kids, and administrators in the Folsom Cordova Unified School District. Just a couple of years ago -- December, 2015, to be specific -- a 12-year-old boy at Folsom Middle School committed suicide after months of relentless bullying.As Queerty reported at the time, Ronin Shimizu loved being on the cheerleading squad. Unfortunately, his classmates teased him mercilessly about it, calling him "gay" and other invectives. The bullying got so bad that Ronin's parents pulled him out of school so he could be homeschooled. A short time later, he was dead of an apparent suicide.

Ronin's parents would later go on to file a lawsuit, claiming school officials didn't do enough to prevent the bullying that ultimately claimed their son's life. As KFBK (Sacramento) reported last year, the school ultimately settled with Ronin's parents for $1 million -- a settlement in which they didn't admit to any wronging.

As for Michael Lozano, it appears that other students at Folsom High School have his back: Tuesday night, several Folsom High students promised to wear blue on Wednesday in support of their friend.

[Featured Image by Ruslan Grumble/Shutterstock]