SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) —A Santa Rosa woman was arrested over the weekend after she allegedly grabbed a 12-year-old boy by the throat while confronting him about the way her daughter was being treated at school. Authorities said Monday she may have targeted the wrong child.
Investigators have not found evidence linking the boy to the bullying allegations, Sonoma County sheriff’s Lt. Steve Brown said. He said they are looking into whether another child may have harassed the girl.
“We are unable to determine if any bullying ever occurred,” Brown said. “We don’t know if this kid bullied this girl at all. It looks like he did not. We can’t find anybody to say that he did.”
The Sonoma County Sheriff’s office said Sunday that 30-year-old Delia Garcia-Bratcher came to Olivet Charter Elementary School around lunchtime Friday.
Authorities alleged the Santa Rosa mother had her son, who also attends the school, pointed out the boy to her in the lunchroom. She then allegedly grabbed him by the throat in front of numerous children. The young witnesses told a deputy she threatened the boy about bullying her daughter. The school staff took photos of red marks on the boy’s neck.
“You can’t put your hands on someone else’s kid,” said parent Stefanie Creep, whose daughter is in 5th grade with the victim.
Greep showed KPIX 5 a letter to school officials handed out to parents, notifying them of the arrest. She said she isn’t aware of bullying being a problem at the school.
“We will be taking any appropriate measures to make sure kids are safe,” said superintendent Jennie Snyder, who said staff has been briefed on the incident and psychologists are on hand to talk with students.
One safety concern is, how did the suspect get into the school lunchroom without any adult spotting her?
The letter to parents updated the school policy on visitors. Snyder told KPIX 5 that Garcia-Bratcher didn’t sign in before going on campus.
She was arrested on suspicion of felony child abuse, and released from jail after posting a $30,000 bail.
“The mother said she didn’t do it,” Brown said. “Even if some bullying did occur, that doesn’t change the crime that the mother allegedly committed.”
A Sonoma County district attorney’s spokeswoman said Monday that her office was still awaiting the sheriff’s report before deciding on filing any criminal charges.
Garcia-Bratcher’s lawyer Ben Adams says his client was reacting to a racial slur against her daughter, who is Native American.
“That doesn’t make it less understandable, or even less moral. Sometimes kids need a good throttling, let’s be honest,” he said.
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