The parents of a young boy in the Inland Empire say his serious injuries -- bad enough to send him to the hospital -- were caused by a bully with a pencil.
But the school district says it was an unfortunate accident.
Carter Flores, age 8, is recovering from his injuries at Loma Linda University Medical Center.
His mom says he's in the hospital because he was attacked by a school bully.
"Today, though, the good news is that he walked, on his own for the first time without pain, so his spirits are great," said Madeline Flores.
She says her son continues to suffer from severe pain in his right knee, an injury that happened at Corona Ranch Elementary School last week.
According to her, a second-grade boy used a pencil to intentionally hurt her son.
"My son was going to see the whiteboard, to reference it for his schoolwork so he could finish it, and when he went to kneel the little boy was behind him, and he held the pencil with the tip pre-sharpened, up like this," she said, miming a pencil resting vertically on its eraser.
"When my son's knee came down on it, it came down, it went all the way through, it fractured his patella," she said. That then led to a Strep A infection.
"The hospital here, they were able to work fast, and get him into surgery quick enough to prevent it from spreading into the blood," she said.
Madeline Flores says the boy who injured Carter also punched him on at least two prior occasions since the beginning of the school year.
The family's attorney says school administrators were notified about each of those incidents.
"There was an agreement to keep the kids apart, to keep them separated," said attorney Michael Jeandron. "In this case, they did just the opposite, they allowed them to be next to each other in the class, and allowed Carter to be re-exposed to the bully."
In a statement, Corona-Norco Unified School District administrators say they take bullying very seriously. They also say they investigated the pencil incident by interviewing witnesses, and determined it was "an unfortunate accident," and not intentional.
Madeline Flores says the school never interviewed her son about the incident. She wants tougher consequences for bullies.
"I just feel like, if it can happen to Carter, it can really happen to anybody," she said. "And that's why I'm here, just to spread the awareness and to make our community aware that this is going on in our schools, and to bring the change."