On Tuesday, September 24, 2019, a child has severely beaten at his elementary school received no immediate justice after a surprise attack. The public has not been given any updates in the two years since the event: Christian Boynton, an eight-year-old student at Lakewood Elementary School in Tomball, Texas, became the target of a group of bullies. As Christian’s sister Kailee explained, the other students grabbed him in the bathroom, pinned him down, beat him until he fell unconscious, and then took items from his backpack. Additional information later released revealed that the three bullies tracked and followed Christian from the school bus to the bathroom before attacking him. After he was found, emergency services personnel took him to Texas Children’s Hospital. Christian’s injuries took hours to monitor because he experienced a brain bleed from the attack. The Tomball Police Department opened an investigation to determine whether to charge the children or parents. Since the bullies were younger than 10 years of age, the police could not prosecute them. Kailee said that Christian, who tried to look at the situation with a kind heart, made excuses for his attackers and told his sister that he thought they might have been having a “rough” day.
Police reached out to the Department of Family and Protective Services. More details were unavailable since Texas Child Protective Services could not release private information involving young children. A Texas DFPS spokeswoman, Tiffani Butler, stated at the time that they would investigate if the bullies received appropriate adult supervision at home and would report their findings to the Texas Education Agency and school district. Kailee believed that the school district failed to react to the event as seriously as possible. A spokesperson for the Tomball Independent School District refused to comment if the school would discipline the children and cited private data protection under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Lakewood Elementary School released a statement on Thursday, September 26, 2019, claiming that they were “thoroughly investigating” and would take “appropriate disciplinary measures.” They emphasized that their main priority was student safety.
Yet, many parents of Lakewood Elementary School students came forward with concerns about the attack. One parent, Amanda Mikel, said that she was “terrified” that it might happen to her child next or that the parents of the bullies might retaliate. Other parents shared similar concerns. According to Mikel, the second-worst part of the event was the lack of immediate notification about the beating and follow-up safety recommendations from the school district. Tomball ISD took two days to notify parents. In a letter, the Tomball ISD claimed that the delay resulted from the investigation. The school district then emphasized that Christian was never alone unconscious in the bathroom. Mikel outlined a course of action she hoped would spread awareness and promote healthy discussion among all of the Lakewood Elementary School students that included a seminar or other forum to explain to the children that they had protection and could use school bathrooms safely without fear of attack. Kailee Boynton reiterated the sentiment. She believed that her brother’s traumatic experience could help people to understand that bullying was a “real thing… prominent in these young ages” and noted that it needed to be addressed both at home and on campus.