Santa Barbara- S County

Mother of student attacked at Santa Ynez High School speaks out

Mother of student attacked at Santa...

SANTA YNEZ, Calif. - A Santa Ynez Valley mother impacted by a violent incident involving her daughter, one week ago Tuesday, is breaking her silence.

"My husband received a phone call from Ella's friend at school saying she was on the ground and couldn't breathe," Tracy Maniscalco told NewsChannel 3.

The couple raced to the Santa Ynez High School campus where two of their children attend and found their 15-year-old daughter on the ground. They feared she'd suffered an asthma attack.

"Her hands were stuck out, contorted and locked," she said. "Her fingers were locked, her eyes were rolled back and there was a teacher sitting there, crying."

Maniscalco said it took some time for reality to set in.

"She had obvious facial trauma. She had bruising and swelling in her face, her eye had a cut over it, she was bleeding on her elbows," Maniscalco said. "At that point we knew it wasn't an asthma attack."

Someone mentioned the word "attack" but Maniscalco doesn't remember who.

Within minutes, it became evident to the Maniscalos that the April 4 incident was an attack carried out by a female freshman student and recorded on someone's cell phone, then posted to a website labeled Santa Ynez Fights.

"From listening to what was going on this site was created literally minutes after that fight occurred," Maniscalco said. 

The site has since been taken down.

She said it was brought to her attention that the video did not include something else: a kick to Ella's head.

To this day, the mother of six refuses to watch the video, however, her older daughter who is a sophomore at Santa Ynez High, is haunted by the images.

"That fight was awful, worst experience I've ever had with my sister in high school," said the teen.

The violence cast a pall over the community and according to both Maniscalco and school officials, has sharply divided the school campus.

Maniscalco and her older daughter both want to set rumors straight: Ella was injured, despite a "no injuries" statement by school officials. They also said social media wasn't to blame, as school officials have claimed.

Maniscalco believes the 15 year old girl who attacked Ella was set up by the person videotaping the fight -- yet, another girl.

"That's why we're speaking out," said Ella's sister.

"To date, I do know the name of that child," Maniscalco said. "I did give it immediately to the school. I have no idea what the school did with that information."

Both say Ella is healing, physically, but the emotional scars will take much longer. In the meantime, Maniscalco has a message for other parents:

"Let's teach right from wrong. That's it. There's nothing more to be learned from this."

NewsChannel 3 received an email written in Spanish on April 6 from the mother of the freshman, who now faces a felony assault charge. It reads:

"I'm the mother of the girl doing the beating, and unfortunately the video only places blame on my daughter because it doesn't show how the other person bullied my daughter. My daughter is a good student who always gets high grades in her classes. She's a very responsible student that plays school sports. This is the first time she reacts like this, and they really would have had to get deep under her skin for her to act like she did. But you don't say that, leaving the other girl as the sole victim, in this case. And because we're Hispanic, we don't get defended by anyone just attacked by everybody."

NewsChannel 3 reached out but has not yet heard back from the mother.

The 15 year old defendant is due back in Santa Maria Juvenile Court April 21.

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