Taunted San Diego Teen Dropped Out but Alleged Bullying Continued Online

Katie Uffens says bullying continued online through social media.

ByABC News
September 27, 2012, 3:01 AM

Sept. 27, 2012— -- A 16-year-old San Diego girl says there was no escaping the alleged bullies who taunted her relentlessly at high school, even after she dropped out.

Katie Uffens left Westview High School earlier this year after she overheard alleged school bullies talking about the "KKK, the Kill Katie Klub."

"I didn't know if it was a joke or they were really trying to kill me," Uffens told ABC News' San Diego affiliate KGTV.

Her mother, Giselle Uffens, a former Mrs. California, appealed to the school administration and the San Diego police who at first declined to press charges, citing lack of evidence.

That's when her daughter left the school, enrolling in a home-school charter program instead.

"I said we are going to move, this is going to go away," Giselle Uffens said.

But Uffens' mother says the bullies continued to harass her daughter online through social media.

She collected defamatory photos and comments on Facebook, Twitter and recorded dozens of allegedly threatening phone calls made to their house.

"The kids didn't stop, they kept calling us, calling us, calling us," she said.

Police finally intervened earlier this month, taking two boys out of class at Westview. One of them, Nick Aguirre, said the "Kill Katie Klub" was just a joke.

"Basically, what I said to one of my friends was 'Kill Katie Klub,'" Aguirre explained to KGTV. "It was a one-liner thing. We never had any intentions to hurt anybody."

Aguirre acknowledged that Uffens was unpopular and didn't deny that he picked on her. But he said he's the real victim, having been dragged out of school publicly by police.

"She's bullying people at Westview," he said.

Among parents, the case has promoted bitter debate about how best to handle such alleged abusive behavior among teens.

Some parents now accuse the school of ignoring its duty to protect students because of concerns about the district's reputation.

But school officials said, "Incidents are taken seriously and investigated. We work very closely with law enforcement when appropriate.

On the same day Aguirre and the other teen were arrested, the school sent a letter home to parents reminding them of the school's zero-tolerance policy on bullying. Each year students and parents are required to sign the disciplinary code that outlines the hate and harassment policy.

"Zero tolerance is zero tolerance," Westview parent Kevin Ellio said. "You shouldn't have to tolerate any type of bullying. It's just unacceptable."

The two alleged bullies now face possible criminal charges. And the Uffens family has hired a lawyer.