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N4T Investigators: TUSD disputes bullying claims - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: TUSD disputes bullying claims

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Tucson - Sue N'Goran's story went viral after she said the Tucson Unified School District banned her and her son from school grounds at Van Buskirk Elementary. The single-mom claimed her third-grader, who's biracial, was bullied physically and verbally, the target of racial slurs; that he went to the hospital with a concussion caused by a bully.

“I am shocked. I cannot believe that instead of the district dealing with the bullying they decide, well, ‘If she won't leave, we're going to force her’”. 

But TUSD officials say the boy was never banned, and that two students, one who they say spit on him, another who they say tackled him, were dealt with. The district says the Van Buskirk Principal also devised a plan to keep the two bullies away from N’Goran's son during school. 

A five-page letter from a TUSD attorney was hand delivered to N’Goran at her home.  It says the district thoroughly investigated every one of her bullying claims. The letter says TUSD banned N’Goran from school grounds indefinitely because she has been "disruptive" and "abusive" towards school employees, and cursed at one of them.  She denies all of that.   

TUSD Superintendent Dr. H.T. Sanchez says not one of the national news outlets that picked up the local report tried to get the district's side of the story.

“We haven't been contacted by any news organization, be it print or broadcast. This is really the first conversation.”

The district's letter to N’Goran informing her of her ban was given to us by N'Goran. It says numerous witnesses and her son were interviewed about her bullying claims. Some key points of the letter:

-N'Goran had said her son was pushed off the monkey bars. Investigators found that he fell off.

-N'Goran accused a student of "assaulting" her son during a soccer game, resulting in the concussion. Police investigated and found "no evidence" to suggest the other student intended to hurt her son.

-N’Goran called 9-1-1 to claim her son was "assaulted" while playing basketball when another student threw a ball at him and hit him in the face. But a staff member who was there said the ball bounced off the backboard and hit her son on the cheek.

Sanchez said, “Not only have we investigated each of her claims, working with the campus principal, we've had people that are not tied to the campus, whose accountability is ultimately to insure that the district is following policy and law, look into those situations and external entities didn't find those claims to be valid and to be as they were reported.”

We said to N’Goran, “They're basically saying you're a liar.” She said, “That's correct, they are basically saying everything that I have said is a lie. Which I think is quite hilarious because first of all I would never waste my time on making up stuff like this.”

On Nov. 16, N’Goran spoke on the phone with a school safety officer. The district tells us that N’Goran had requested a meeting with Tucson Police, and the safety officer wanted the meeting to take place at the school. We've obtained a recording of that call. 

N’Goran said to the school safety officer, "You think I'm a moron but I'm not. I'm not getting served with paperwork that says that I can't go on school property again. I've been advised, and I won't tell you by who, from the school board, not to make it easy for you to serve me."

The next day N’Goran was served at her home with the paperwork banning her from school grounds, the papers citing the Arizona law dealing with “Interference or disruption of an educational institution”. Superintendent Sanchez says the nationwide publicity the story generated has already damaged TUSD.

“We've received phone calls from outside of the state of Arizona, asking why we're allowing racial slurs to be issued to children, why we're not insuring that our students are safe,” Sanchez said. 

N’Goran told us, “I don't think any mother would be fighting for something that is not occurring. My son is scared.”

N’Goran said she “absolutely” will file a lawsuit against TUSD.

N'goran and her two children live in the Sunnyside school district. Last year she complained about her son being bullied in a school there, before changing schools. Now she says her third grader may return to a Sunnyside district school. 

If you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.

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