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Community rallies behind bullied Martin Middle Schooler

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Posted at 8:00 PM, Sep 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-18 21:03:14-04

The community is offering help and support to a young girl who is being bullied.

Ever since her story was posted online it has been shared more than a thousand times. It took 15 minutes after the story was posted for people to start overflowing Cardenas' messages with advice and generosity.

"There was already like 20-something people reaching out to send her to self defense classes," he said.

Cardenas said while things have calmed down at school for his daughter, he still keeps tabs on her.

"I still message her during the day and everything has been going good," he said.

On Sept. 4, Cardenas' 14-year-old daughter was walking to her father's truck when a group of girls attacked her after school. She had just told school officials that she had been threatened. A counselor walked her out, but Cardenas says evidently not far enough after three girls approached her.

The Corpus Christi Independent School District said the girls involved in the attack were disciplined according to the student code of conduct. Despite filing a police report and a trip to the emergency room, Cardenas said he sees a change in his daughter after the community's outpouring of support.

"I see her and she has a little bit more confidence in herself and is a little bit more happy going to school with ease," he said. "She doesn't feel all down the way she used to be before."

Cardenas credits his daughter's confidence boost to the self defense classes she is taking. They were offered to her free of charge by the owner of a gym.

"She started taking classes already," Cardenas said proudly. "She is on her second day of training."

Aurelio Gallegos Jr. -- a black belt instructor who has been teaching Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for 17 years -- said he reached out because it was the right thing to do.

"No one wants their children beat up or coming home with a black eye," Gallegos said. "There is two phones calls you might get from the school; it might be the principal's office saying that your child is here for a fight or in the ER."

Some of his classes specifically focus on bully prevention.

"We are also here to help bullies too," he said. "Just because you're mean now doesn't mean you have to be tomorrow. We are here to help you change your life too."

Despite the surrounding support from the community, Cardenas said he feels like he is getting the run around by CCISD -- who confirmed with Action 10 News that the assault did not happen on district property.

"I say, that is if it wasn't on school grounds, CCISD police wouldn't of made the report," Cardenas said. "Because I called the regular police department (CCPD) and they said they couldn't make a report because it was on school property."

CCPD Lt. Michael Pena said whether it be the city or school district police departments -- both are law enforcement agencies that can investigate the case accordingly -- which public records can be obtained.

"I was sitting in my truck," Cardenas said. "The fight started on school grounds."

Leanne Libby, CCISD's director of communications, said she confirmed with CCISD police that the "incident occurred off campus."

Parents who feel like their child is a victim of bullying can reach out to school officials and file a bully incident report on the CCISD website .