9OYS Continuing Coverage
Catalina Magnet High School principal defends school's actions
Reporter: Marcelino Benito
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Why did administrators at Catalina Magnet High School not call police, as an officer asked them to do, when an accused bully who'd attacked a 9th grader returned to school? The attack left the victim with a concussion and brain injury. The officer wrote in his report that administrators explained their refusal to call by saying it was for the "betterment of the school." What the heck?
On Friday the school's principal reversed an earlier decision, and decided to talk on the record after all. He is defending his actions, and disputing the police officer's account of events.
Part of principal Rex Scott's job is to make sure 1,200 plus students at Catalina are kept safe. The Maybin family told KGUN9 News that their daughter slipped through the cracks. They have the records to show that something went wrong. Despite a brain injury, her attacker was never prosecuted.
But Scott says he and his staff handled the Maybin case the right way and by the book.
9OYS asked Scott if the school did everything right. "Absolutely," he said. "I certainly understand their (the parents) frustration and anger," Scott said. "I'm a parent myself, but I think we did everything we could to respond to their concerns."
Scott says the assailant who attacked the Maybin's daughter faced severe punishment. The attacker was found guilty of a level four offense. 9OYS discovered the punishment for that is anywhere from 11 to 45 days suspension.
"You need to understand to mete out a consequence is my responsibility, the decision to arrest is the responsiblity of the police," Scott said.
The Maybins asked the school to call police the day of the attack. The call was made but cancelled. 9OYS wanted to know why. Reporter Marcelino Benito asked why it was cancelled and why police never showed up. "They did show up," said Scott.
Police didn't show up until the next day. 9OYS never got a straight answer explaining the cancelled call to 911. Scott said he wasn't the administrator on duty. That's where Assistant Principal David Berry comes in. Records show he's the one who was asked to call police back when the suspect returned. He never did and said, according to the officer's report, that his decision was for "the betterment of the school."
Scott disputes that Berry ever said that. He also disputes he expressed support for that statement.
"What I'm disputing is that somehow we evaded taking action simply for the betterment of the school," Scott said. "Those are his words, his characterization, and they do not stand up to scrutiny."
9OYS also asked Scott if he thinks bullying is a problem at Catalina. He said it's not, but it does happen every so often and when it does they take appropriate action.
9OYS got hold of several TUSD board members today. They say they are concerned about this case and plan to seek out more information about what exactly happened.
Although the accused attacker has moved out of state, the Maybins told KGUN9 News that her friends are still in school. The Maybins told KGUN9 News that they were finally forced to pull their daughter out of school when one of those bullies threatened to kill their daughter.
A Tucson police officer told students in a classroom presentation that four students have killed themselves in Tucson this year amid cyberbullying. (Some earlier versions of our reporting stated the suicides had happened specifically in TUSD. TUSD now says that is not the case, and a review of the officers' statement shows that she did not specify that the students were in the TUSD system. KGUN9 News regrets the error).