A Waco mother is demanding answers after her 12-year-old daughter came home from an overnight school trip with severe rope burns around her neck.
Sandy Rougely said her daughter returned from the April 28 camping trip to a ranch with the injury covering the front half of her neck, ABC Newsreports. Many questions concerning the incident remain unanswered, but the gruesome laceration has Rougely thinking her child was the victim of racially motivated bullying from classmates. Her daughter was one of two Black students on the trip,The Dallas Morning News reports.
“It looked like somebody had ripped her neck apart and stitched it back together,” the girl’s mother told The Dallas Morning News this week.
A statement released by the school claims that the young girl’s injury was “caused accidentally” as a group of students played with a rope swing attached to a tree. Jeremy Counseller, a member of the private school’s board of directors, also e-mailed a statement to The Dallas Morning News detailing the incident.
“…The student and some of her classmates were playing with a swing and an attached pull-rope on a field trip,” Counsellor wrote. “The student received first aid treatment immediately after the accident by a parent chaperone who is also a physician, and she was able to enjoy the remainder of the field trip, which lasted through the next day. Live Oak takes the safety of its students seriously and is saddened that one of its family suffered an unfortunate accident and injury.”
Rougely’s daughter’s account of the incident slightly differs from Counseller’s, however. The 12-year-old said she was helping swing other kids, but then stopped to watch. She then felt the rope wrap around her neck from behind, after which she was pulled backward and dragged. Rougely’s daughter also points out that none of her classmates helped her. She said she looked back after removing the rope from her neck to see three white boys who had allegedly been picking on her.
According to The Dallas Morning News, the girl asked the boys if they had done it on purpose and they responded no. But the middle-school student doesn’t see how it could have been an accident, recalling that when the kids let the rope go, it fell to the ground.
“That’s why I think it was on purpose,” she said. “I think someone tried to tie it around my neck.”
Per the news site, the incident will be investigated by officials in Blanco county, where the ranch is located. So far, no one has been accused of a crime.