A 13-year-old Maricopa boy is facing charges for allegedly biting a girl's breast at school.
The alleged incident happened on Dec. 16 at Maricopa Wells Middle School and was caught on surveillance tape, said Maricopa police spokesman Ricardo Alvarado.
"Right above the left breast, there were teeth marks," said Jaime French as she described her daughter's injuries. "She was wearing a T-shirt and a hooded sweatshirt, and he bit hard enough to leave teeth impressions."
French said she was horrified when she got a call from her 14-year-old daughter – telling her she'd been sexually assaulted by another eighth-grader.
"My husband went in to find out what happened and asked that the police be called," she said. "The principal informed us that we could go home and call the police. My husband said, 'No, you're going to call police.'"
French said they immediately filed a police report, and the Pinal County Attorney's Office has since charged the boy with one count of felony sexual abuse and one count of assault.
According to the Maricopa Unified School District Secondary Student Handbook, the minimum punishment for sexual abuse is 10 days of suspension and expulsion.
But the boy's own parents told CBS 5 News he was initially suspended for two days, Dec. 19 and 20.
They said principal Rick Abel told them after reviewing the situation, he felt two days of suspension was fair.
They said their son was allowed to return to school Jan. 6, after winter break.
CBS 5 News asked MUSD Superintendent Steve Chestnut when the district's guidelines apply.
"Well, they apply at all times, and we are following our guidelines at this time," he said.
When CBS 5 News pointed out that wasn't true if the suspect was still in class, Chestnut responded, "I can't comment on that. I can't comment on the specifics of the case."
Chestnut refused to answer when CBS 5 News pressed him about why the boy was still in school, as of Wednesday, and why the district was ignoring its own policy.
As for why a letter had not been sent to parents, informing them of the alleged sexual assault on campus, Chestnut said, "When there is a safety issue at school, we do send home letters to parents. We have not sent a letter concerning this situation."
When CBS 5 News asked him how this is keeping his student population safe, Chestnut replied, "This is an ongoing investigation. We're working with the police department. I can't comment on the specifics of the case."
After this CBS 5 interview Wednesday afternoon, the boy's parents told CBS 5 News they were called into the principal's office – where they were told their son would be suspended for an additional eight days and could face expulsion.
"That's the sad part, that I had to go public with this in order for them (the district) to do something about it," French said. "Why did it have to get to this level? I don't understand it. It's (punishment guidelines) clear in their policy."
French said she has kept her daughter home from school, out of concern for the teen's safety, since the suspect was allowed to return to class.
She said after repeated complaints to the principal about not following district policy when it comes to punishment for sexual abuse, he said he'd help her find another school for her daughter to attend.
When CBS 5 News asked Chestnut if this was adding insult to injury, he again declined to comment.
French said she is concerned about sending her daughter back to Maricopa Wells Middle School, even if the boy is expelled, because of potential retaliation.
She pointed out that administrators didn't protect her daughter in this case.
Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
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