SPOKANE, Wash. - A Spokane family says Spokane Public Schools did not do enough to protect their daughter from a fellow student. Monday, they did something they never thought they'd do: they asked a judge for a restraining order against a six year old.
The troubles started for the Piper family's daughter just as school began at Balboa Elementary School.
"Our kindergartner came home and told us there was a little boy chasing her around the playground, trying to kiss her," Emily Piper said. "We were like, yeah, you're in kindergarten. That's what they're going to do. Then, she told us he pushed her up against a fence and one point and was pulling on her clothes and stuff."
The girl told the teacher and the Pipers assumed that was the end of it. A couple of weeks later, they got a call from one of the kindergarten teachers who told them what happened the day before.
"He was hiding under her desk and when she came to sit down, he jumped out and tackled her on the ground," Emily recalled. "It took two adults to get her off of him."
The Pipers did what any reasonable parents would do; they called the school and requested a meeting with the kindergarten teachers and the principal. The Pipers trusted the school would take care of the problem.
"They had us sign a safety plan outlining their course of action and that was where we left it," Emily said. "Then, we got a call at the beginning of November."
In that incident, the boy got upset with the Piper's daughter and smacked her in the face. Fed up and more concerned than ever, the Pipers emailed the superintendent. The district assigned the support specialist to the boy to keep an eye on him.
A few weeks later, it happened again. He got around his support specialist and hit the child again.
The district assured the Pipers they were working through the process, asking for their patience. Citing federal privacy laws, they couldn't be more specific than that. The Pipers could see the situation affecting their daughter.
"After the last attack in November, she said, 'I kind of wish I wasn't me today,'" recalled Patrick Piper. "As a father, that makes you see red a little bit."
Over Christmas break, the Pipers decided they weren't waiting anymore. The filed a motion in juvenile court, asking a judge to put a protection order in place. It would keep the child away from their daughter and out of Balboa.
"At this point, it's getting the district to do what they should have done from the beginning," Patrick said.
KXLY4 News notified the school district late last week of our intention to do a story on the Pipers' situation. As we drove to their home for the interview Friday, the district spokesman called, saying the child would be transferred out of the school later this week. Not satisfied or assured it would happen, the Pipers still came to court Monday, asking for that protection order.
Inside juvenile court, there were no attorneys, no kids and no drama. At the tables sat two families, just hoping for the best for their children.
The boy's family told the judge their son suffers from a diagnosed disability and can't control his impulses. They acknowledge his fixation on the Pipers' daughter and hope he'll do well in a different school setting.
Hon. Michael Price told both families, this is not a case of bad parenting or even bullying. He commended them for their efforts to make things right for their kids. He told the Pipers, this was not a frivolous motion and a step he would take if it were happening to his daughter. He denied the motion, not because it didn't have merit, but because the transfer was already going to happen.
Judge Price also said if the transfer does not happen, the families should get together and force the district into court to make it happen.
The Pipers are satisfied, but say they won't be relieved completely until they see the boy out of their daughter's school.