JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (First Coast News) -- Janet Roberts said she has lived by a rule learned from her mother.
"Our mom always told us never judge a book by its cover," said Roberts, "and see what she meant with this situation that happened with my daughter."
Roberts said her 11-year-old was the target of a wicked rumor in school.
"I did not know. I was the last one to find out," she said.
She said she found out when the school called her in for a meeting and told her the rumor around the school is her 11-year-old is pregnant.
"I was shock," she said, "To me it was a joke at first.
Roberts said she tried to squash it because her daughter felt she was being bullied or harassed, but she noticed the child had an extended stomach and wanted to be sure.
"The tests were negative," said Roberts.
But the mother of four noticed her daughters stomach continued to grow.
"I tested her every two weeks and it was negative," she said, "then I said 'if you're not pregnant something is going on here.'"
In August 2012, she had just turned 12 and it was three months after the rumors began. Roberts said her child looked like she was five months pregnant, so they took her to another doctor. It it turned out to be a tumor growing in her body.
"Once we got there, there wasn't no going back home," she said.
Her daughter was rushed to surgery at Wolfson Children's Hospital and the tumor removed. It was big.
"It was 19 pounds, well 20 pounds in size," said Roberts, "but because of her size, they had to drain two liter bottle of it before they could pull it out of her."
It was benign, but there is concern that it will return, and Roberts said her daughter now needs counseling.
"She has a hard time dealing with what happen to her. She's writing notes about what happened and how the people treated her," said Roberts.
The now 12-year-old is still trying to come to grips about what was said, and what was discovered in her body.
Roberts had this word of caution to anyone who thinks about bullying or harassing someone else.
"Before you judge a child by how he or she looks, get to know that child," she said.
In Florida, bullying or harassing a student is against the law. School districts have set up procedures to file complaints.
First Coast News