Boy, 8, Hospitalized After Being Injured by a Pencil in What Family Calls Bullying Incident

Carter Flores, 8, "kneeled directly" on a pencil while at school, leading to an infection and multiple surgeries for the second-grader Carter was being bullied at school by the same student for awhile. This week, Carter was significantly injured by the bully at school.
Photo: gofundme

A little boy from California is recovering in the hospital after being injured at school, an incident his mom called bullying but that the school district ruled an "unfortunate accident."

Carter Flores, 8, was at Corona Ranch Elementary School when he stood up to look at a whiteboard. That's when a fellow student allegedly took a pencil and put it straight up, "which Carter kneeled directly onto," a GoFundMe to raise money for Carter's medical expenses said.

The second-grader suffered a Strep A infection and has had multiple surgeries, the campaign added.

The family's lawyer Michael Jeandron tells PEOPLE, "While Carter still has a long road to recovery, he is thankful to have a strong community of friends and family that are there to support him along the way."

He adds that the "bullying incident should've never happened," alleging that the school was aware Carter was getting bullied and had a plan to keep him and the other student apart, however, "They allowed Carter to be exposed to the bully again and as a result, Carter was stabbed with a pencil causing a very serious infection," says Jeandron.

Carter's mother Madeline Flores told ABC7 that they discovered the child "was very sick" after he became "very lethargic. He spiked over 103 fever and he started throwing up."

Along with the operations, fluid had to be drained from his knee, per the outlet. According to Fox 11, Carter's injuries were so severe that doctors told the family he may have had to get his leg amputated if they brought him to the hospital 12 hours later.

When explaining the alleged incident to Fox 11, Madeline said, "When [Carter] came down on his knee, at some point, the little boy had the pencil in his hand and was holding it like this, and Carter's knee came directly onto it with force, and it was held still."

The Corona-Norco Unified School District has ruled it an accident.

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In a press release, the district said it is "aware" of the "incident of alleged bullying of a second-grade student at Corona Ranch Elementary where a student was injured on campus last week by falling onto a pencil."

"After a thorough investigation of the students involved and several witnesses, it was determined to be an unfortunate accident," it added, noting that Carter received treatment at the nurse's office "where his wound was cleaned, bandaged, and iced."

"We are saddened to hear the student's injury is worse than originally thought, and we wish him a speedy recovery."

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The press release concluded, "In CNUSD, we take all allegations of bullying seriously and they are fully investigated, as we believe school should be a safe place for every student to learn and grow."

Jeandron tells PEOPLE he doesn't buy CNUSD's ruling. "The school district claims to have conducted a 'thorough investigation' but the investigation didn't even include a conversation with Carter about what happened. The district's self-serving conclusion that this was an "accident" is based upon limited facts and is consistent with district's failure to take bullying seriously. This was not an accident. When the school knows about a harm but still allows a student to be exposed to a harm it is not accidental, it is preventable."

"No child should go to school without the protection of school administrators from a known school bully. No parent should ever fear their child will end up hospitalized due to a known school bully," he adds.

CNUSD did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

The GoFundMe, which has raised more than $10,000 of its $25,000 goal, said that Madeline is self-employed and has been forced to cancel appointments to stay by Carter's side at the hospital. He could be there for a total of two weeks and will receive at-home therapies for up to six weeks after he's discharged.

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