Sunday, November 14, 2010

Bullies ' threatened to kill my son'

Parents: Pleas ignored

Some move out of district, others mull cyberschooling

By Evamarie Socha The Daily Item The Daily Item Sat Nov 13, 2010, 11:24 PM EST

[Debbie Tocco's and Albert Stevens' son was in Middleburg Middle School's eighth grade last year.

Sometime earlier this year, his life was threatened.

"They threatened to kill my son," Tocco said. "There was talk that the one kid had a knife. They showed it to my son, but didn't open the blade."

Her son didn't want to go to school anymore, she said, "because they were terrorizing him every day."

Before the knife incident, Tocco said her son took a blow to the head that was so severe, he ended up with a Class-1 concussion. She found out after his grandmother picked him up from school and noticed that his speech was slurred.

"Basically, he remembered going down the hall," she said. "Then he picked himself up off the floor and was crying."

The boy was told later an older student tripped him, picked him up by his throat and threw him into the wall. When Tocco discussed the incident with an administrator, the response was that her son had been running in the hall.]

MIDDLEBURG - In his final words, 14-year-old Brandon Bitner wrote that his peers had bullied him.

"Some were my friends, but most were not."

He also wrote that Midd-West schools might learn something from his death, and "students and staff can address that harassment and bring it to an end."

Tammy Simpson, Brandon's mother, read the note to The Daily Item on Monday.

In the days since Brandon took his life Nov. 5, students and staff have tried to cope with the issues at Midd-West. There have been online tributes, remembrances, meetings, even a protest outside the school on Thursday.

Also there have been stories -- numerous stories told via e-mail and telephone to The Daily Item from parents who said their children have been bullied in the Midd-West school system. And despite reporting that bullying -- something Brandon did not do -- they said nothing was done to stop it.....

[Midd-West never took any action that she knows of, Tocco said.

"(The bullies) are still in school," she said. "Nothing happened to them."

Their son now takes anti-depressants.

"This," Tocco said, "should not be happening. A child (put) on anti-depressants because of school?"

Doctors also recommend their son be home-schooled because of the physical and emotional stress, she said.]


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