Southern Arizona | Investigating 4 You

N4T Investigators: Parents concerned about bullying at CFSD middle school

Reports of bullying at one northeast side Tucson middle school, have some parents concerned.

They say the district is not doing enough about the problem.

“The school needs to take it more seriously. I feel that that the district as a whole needs to take it more seriously,” said Ashleigh Oden.

Oden is a Tucson mom whose daughter attends Esperero Canyon Middle School, in the Catalina Foothills School District.

Oden told the news four Tucson Investigators, the bullying her daughter has been subjected to, is more than just words.

“She’s also been pushed. She’s been called names. She’s been made fun of,” Oden told the News 4 Tucson Investigators.

Oden also told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, despite reaching out to the school, she believes the district’s administration is not taking her concerns seriously.

“They’re saying that what’s been happening to her is not classified as bullying, it’s classified as an act of unkindness, so the children just get talked to,” Oden told the News 4 Tucson Investigators.

In addition to talking to the district, Oden took her concerns about bullying at Esperero Canyon to Facebook.

Oden told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, the response to her social media post has been nothing short of overwhelming.

“I have received over 16 or 17 messages from other people telling me that they have the exact same problems at the school with the principal and the administration. That they have come and tried to discuss the issues that they’re having. Nothing is being done about it,” Oden told the News 4 Tucson Investigators.

Another Esperero Canyon mother, who did not want to be identified, told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, her student has also been bullied at Esperero Canyon – both emotional, and physical.

“Your heart breaks, because, you don’t want your kids to have that kind of experience so young, and have to be bullied,” she said.

Both parents told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, their kids like their teachers at Esperero Canyon, but they feel something needs to change.

“It’s just very discouraging, that you don’t have the district stepping up, to try to take care of these situations,” Oden said.

In an email to the news four Tucson Investigators, a district spokesperson told us, in part:

Although we cannot comment on any specific bullying incident that is alleged by a student or parent, we refer you to the attached regulation that defines harassment, intimidation, or bullying, and how we respond to a report. This section on page 2 (below) describes the factors that we look for when deciding whether bullying has occurred.

CFSD Response

We are committed to making our schools safe and places where all students are comfortable. Sometimes students don’t treat each other with respect, but the circumstances do not rise to harassment, intimidation, or bullying. However, our administrative and counseling staff do respond to help students work through conflict.

The News 4 Tucson Investigators will continue to closely monitor this story, and of course, we will keep you updated.

If you have something you would like the News 4 Tucson Investigators to investigate, email us at, or call the news four Tucson investigators tip-line at (520) 955-4444.

Paul Birmingham

Paul Birmingham

Paul Birmingham is an Edward R. Murrow Award winning broadcast journalist and Investigative Producer with the News 4 Tucson Investigators. Paul is a Tucson native, UA graduate, and licensed private investigator.
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