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Entries in Bullying (33)

Saturday
Mar302013

Bus Aide Arrested for Allegedly Bullying 5-Year-Old Boy

George Doyle/Stockbyte(PORT SAINT LUCIE, Fla.) -- A school bus aide in Port Saint Lucie, Fla. was arrested and charged with stalking after surveillance footage showed her allegedly bullying a 5-year-old boy.

Newly released surveillance videos show Daneta McPherson, 37, yelling at the boy and threatening to take him home with her.

In the video, McPherson is seen towering over the child, reducing him to tears as she berates him on the bus.

On at least one occasion, McPherson grabbed the boy and caused him to hit his head on the side of the bus, according to the police report.

A school employee first reported the alleged abuse to police and provided them with videos in December. After a four month long investigation, McPherson was arrested on Thursday.

"He's an innocent victim," Port Saint Lucie assistant police chief Richard Del Toro said. "It's a violation of public trust, as far as I'm concerned."

McPherson was released from jail on $20,000 bond. Calls to McPherson were not immediately returned Saturday.

The director of communication for the St. Lucie County Schools told Good Morning America that McPherson was still with the school district, but in a role away from students.

Her status with the school is pending the legal process, the spokeswoman said.

The boy's family declined to comment.

 

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb082013

Bullying Attack Leaves Pennsylvania Boy in Coma

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- A Pennsylvania boy is currently in a medically induced coma after a schoolyard fight with classmates who he and his family claims were bullying him.

Sixth-grader Bailly O’Neil, an honors student of Darby Township, Pa., was involved in a fight four weeks ago at the Darby Township School.  He was struck several times in the face by another student; the blow fractured his nose and he fell to the ground.

His parents brought their son, who had a concussion, to the A.I. DuPont hospital in Wilmington, Del., where he was treated and released.  But his father saw that something wasn’t quite right with their son when they returned home.

“He was sleeping.  He was moody.  He wasn’t himself.  He was angry a little bit.  He wasn’t really eating,” O’Neil’s father Rob told ABC News affiliate WPVI-TV.

Just a few days later, O’Neil started having violent seizures and needed to be hospitalized again.  The seizures were so bad that doctors at A.I. DuPont were forced to put him in a medically induced coma nearly two weeks ago.

When contacted, A.I. DuPont Hospital was unable to provide an update to ABC News on O’Neil’s current condition because of privacy laws.  His father is trying his best to cope.

“Every day I’m trying to stay strong for him,” he told WPVI-TV.  “When you get into that hospital room and you’re looking at him, I would trade places in a heartbeat.  It’s my buddy, you know.”

Southeast Delco School District Superintendent Stephen Butz told ABC News the school has turned the investigation over to local police and is cooperating fully with their efforts.

“We take bullying seriously,” he said.  “We are very concerned about the medical condition of the student and our thoughts and prayers are with the family and students.”

According to O’Neil’s father, the boy who struck his son was suspended for two days following the incident, but police have not filed any criminal charges in the case.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov282012

Ohio Man Sentenced to One Month in Jail After Teasing Disabled Girl

Comstock/Thinkstock(CANTON, Ohio) -- An Ohio man faces one month of jail time for teasing and taunting a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy after a video of the incident went viral.

On Nov. 27, Judge John A. Poulos of the Canton Municipal Court sentenced 43-year-old William Bailey to 29 days in jail.

The taunting occurred on Sept. 26, when Tricia Knight and her mother-in-law were waiting for her children’s bus to return from school. Knight’s three children, including 10-year-old Hope, attend Walker Elementary with Bailey’s 9-year-old son, Joseph.

What happened next was caught on an iPod camera by Knight’s mother-in-law, Marie Prince.

William Bailey “was dragging his leg and patting his arm across his chest to pick his son Joseph up,” said Knight. “I asked him to please stop doing this. ‘My daughter can see you.’ He then told his son to walk like the R-word.”

The next day Knight posted the video on her Facebook page while Prince uploaded the video they called “Bus Stop Ignorance” to YouTube. Within days, the video went viral.

The Knight family has lived next door to the Baileys for the past two years, and the incident at the bus stop, according to Knight, is the culmination of rising tensions and intimidation against her kids.

In the days that followed the taunting at the bus stop, the Knight family filed a complaint with Canton City prosecutors.

Jennifer Fitzsimmons, the chief assistant city prosecutor for this case, says in the three years she’s been in this role, she’s never seen anything like this.

“I think when we look at cases, there’s case law out there regarding people commenting and gesturing against race and religion. But when there’s nothing out there regarding disabilities, it took me a little bit longer to come to a decision.”

After Fitzsimmons reviewed the Knight family’s complaint, a police report based on a phone call from the Knight family, and the video captured by Prince, she decided to press charges.

“It was settled without Hope having to relive what she saw and how it impacted her,” said Fitzsimmons. “I think the trial could have been just as traumatic as the event itself.”

Bailey, who works as a truck driver, was charged twice. He was originally charged for aggravated menacing, a misdemeanor of the first degree. In this charge, the victim was Knight, in an incident she says took place the same day as the bus stop scene.

Bailey, she said, “was swinging a tow chain on his porch, saying he was going to choke me until I stopped twitching. I sent my kids with my mother-in-law to leave with them. My husband called the sheriff.”

In Ohio, a menacing charge is a misdemeanor fourth degree, which carries a maximum of 30 days in jail.

The second original charge, for the bus stop incident, was disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. A disorderly conduct is a minor misdemeanor and carries no jail time.

Although Bailey’s sentencing technically reflects the charges brought by his actions toward Knight, Hope’s mother, Fitzsimmons explains how the plea deal enabled the sentence to cover his actions toward Hope.

“Because the menacing misdemeanor charge was directed toward Hope’s mother, and they’re all interrelated, the judge took into account all the actions of Mr. Bailey and the entire Holcomb family,” said Fitzsimmons.

Bailey “entered a plea of ‘no contest’ to a menacing charge and to disorderly conduct,” said Fitzsimmons. His sentence will go into effect on Jan. 2.

Judge Poulos required Bailey to pay $400 in court costs as well as other fees. He was given a credit for one day which is why his sentence is 29 days and not the maximum 30.

Following the Nov. 27 hearing, Bailey’s attorney, John R. Giua, released a statement and apology on Bailey’s behalf, according to the The Repository, a newspaper for Stark County, Ohio.

“I don’t think this sentence will change things because it hasn’t so far,” said Knight.

Knight says living next door to the Baileys affects their everyday lives.

Just last summer, said Knight, 9-year-old Joseph Bailey came over to play with Knight’s children and brought over a pocket knife, threatening to “cut [Hope] up,” followed by name calling. That harassment continued into the school year.

Since the bus stop incident, Knight has spoken with the bus driver and the school’s principal. Knight now drives Hope to school every day while her other two children ride another bus to school.

Hope was born 29 weeks premature after Knight was involved in a head-on auto collision. When she was born, Hope weighed only two pounds, 12 ounces, which caused several medical problems resulting in two brain surgeries. Knight says her daughter fought for her life the first two years.

As for whether this case presents a new precedent in Ohio is another debate.

“I don’t know if it sets a precedent so much maybe as it begins a conversation between people,” said Fitzsimmons. “I think conversation starts progress, and I think if it can bring something else to light, it would be good.”

 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Sep022012

Washington Teacher Accused of Bullying Student Put on Leave

Ron Chapple Studios/Thinkstock(TACOMA, Wash.) -- A Gig Harbor, Wash., middle school teacher who is accused of bullying a student has been placed on administrative leave after the alleged victim's parents called for the teacher to be fired.

John Rosi, who has been an educator for 18 years, managed to avoid losing his job by accepting a 10-day suspension, according to memos from the Peninsula school district.

The parents of the 13-year-old boy seen on the video, which appears to be a bullying incident, say that's not enough.

The video taken by fellow students on their cell phones of Karla Kinney's 13-year-old son being dragged across the classroom is disturbing. But what really outrages Kinney and her husband is that a teacher was there, too, and they say he joined in.

"When I drop my kids off I'm dropping them off as a parent handing my kids to a school that is going to take care of them," Kinney told ABC News.

The incident happened in a middle school near Tacoma, Wash., in February, but is just now coming to light following a district investigation.

At a time in the video -- which goes on for at least 15 minutes -- it seems as if the boy is playing along. Kinney's son is at one point heard saying, "yeah do that … do what Eric's doing, not my arm."

But in the video a handful of students are also seen writing on the boy's feet, holding a pillow over his face and covering him with chairs.

In the video, Rosi is seemingly mugging for the phone cameras.

Kinney said her son was very upset following the incident, and that the other students blamed him for the teacher being punished.

"He said he wanted to kill himself," she said. "The kids had blamed him for this popular teacher and the suspension he received."

Rosi, who told ABC News he's not allowed to comment, wrote in a letter to investigators that during the incident he did not see it as bullying.

"I can honestly say that at the time I did not believe that any of the children were at risk of harm during their interactions. Nor did I view the incident as anything more than harmless childhood horseplay," he wrote.

Chuck Cuzzetto, Peninsula school district's superintendent, said that "pretty significant disciplinary action" was taken.

Kinney says that she and her husband feel that the entire matter has been made worse by the fact that Rossi is now back at another school.

"I think that somebody who can allow this to happen and participate has no business being in a classroom," Kinney said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug312012

Parents Want Teacher Fired After Bullying of Son Caught on Tape

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(TACOMA, Wash.) -- The parents of a Washington middle school student who was recorded in what appears to be a bullying incident where he is seen being dragged around the room and has a sock stuffed in his mouth are outraged that the teacher, who they believe joined in, is still on the job.

The video taken by fellow students on their cell phones of Karla Kinney's 13-year-old son being dragged across the classroom is disturbing. But what really outrages Kinney and her husband is that a teacher was there too and they say he joined in.

"When I drop my kids off I'm dropping them off as a parent handing my kids to a school that is going to take care of them," Kinney told ABC News.

The incident happened in a middle school near Tacoma, Wash., in February, but is just now coming to light following a district investigation.

At a time in the video -- which goes on for at least 15 minutes -- it seems as if the boy is playing along. Kinney's son is at one point heard saying, "yeah do that … do what Eric's doing, not my arm."

But in the video a handful of students are also seen writing on her son's feet, holding a pillow over his face and covering him with chairs.

John Rossi, the teacher in the room at the time, had been an educator for 18 years. In the video he is seemingly mugging for the phone cameras. He managed to avoid losing his job by accepting a 10-day suspension, according to memos from the Peninsula school district.

Kinney said that her son was very upset following the incident, and that the other students blamed him.

"He said he wanted to kill himself," she said. "The kids had blamed him for this popular teacher and the suspension he received."

Rossi, who told ABC News he's not allowed to comment, wrote in a letter to investigators.

"I can honestly say that at the time I did not believe that any of the children were at risk of harm during their interactions. Nor did I view the incident as anything more than harmless childhood horseplay," he wrote.

Chuck Cuzzetto, Peninsula school district's superintendent, said that "pretty significant disciplinary action" was taken.

Kinney says that she and her husband feel that the entire matter has been made worse by the fact that Rossi is now back at another school.

"I think that somebody who can allow this to happen and participate has no business being in a classroom," Kinney said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Aug082012

Administration Urges Multi-Pronged Effort to Stop School Bullies

US Dept of Education(WASHINGTON) -- Delivering the keynote address Tuesday at the Bullying Prevention Summit, Education Secretary Arne Duncan promised that the Obama administration would make awareness of the problem a national priority.

That includes running new public service announcements in a joint campaign with the Ad Council and the Free to Be Foundation that urge people to report instances of bullying rather than ignoring them.

Duncan emphasized that the battle against bullying can't be won alone but rather, "It takes all of us working together to dramatically reduce this epidemic."

The nation's top educator said that one important step is getting to the root of the problem, meaning that "school cultures are going to have to change so that no one tolerates behavior that puts any child at risk."

However, Duncan promised that the federal government won't idly stand by and watch others do all the heavy lifting to combat the problem.  He expressed hope that two bills, the Student Non-Discrimination Act and the Safe Schools Improvement Act, will quickly be approved by Congress.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul302012

Bullied Bus Monitor Announces Her Retirement

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The world’s most famous bus monitor is calling it quits. Karen Klein, the victim of a taunting incident last month that made national headlines, has announced her retirement at age 68.

A video that went viral showed the Greece, N.Y., grandma riding on a bus as a group of boys mocked her physical appearance and brought up the suicide of her son. The ten-minute taunt resulted in all four middle-school students getting suspended for a year.

Meanwhile, Klein's humiliation spurred an outpouring of donations from people who contributed to a charity set up by a Toronto man, Max Sidorov, at the fundraising site Indiegogo. The total amount raise just exceeded $700,000.

Klein said she's grateful for all the kind words and the money that's come her way, but insists that the reasons for leaving her job have nothing to do with the bullying incident. She remarked, "I enjoyed working with the kids. But I guess it's my time to leave. That's what I've decided."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun272012

George Zimmerman Bullied Former Colleague, Complaint Says

Seminole County Sheriff's Office(SANFORD, Fla.) -- One of George Zimmerman's former colleagues at CarMax, where he worked in 2008, complained formally about the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin, alleging serial hazing that lasted for months and included pranks and ethnic jokes.

When the salesman complained to management, Zimmerman denied the harassment.

"The guy was so convincing when he was confronted by management to the point where I doubted my own self.  I would not be surprised if he got away with it [Martin murder accusation]," Zimmerman's former colleague said.

"He's got, like you say, a good poker face.  Great poker face," the colleague continued.  "That pretty much summarizes this guy's personality.  Great poker face."

The employee, who is an Arab-American, worked part time at the used car retailer during 2008, and rose quickly to become one of the company's top salesmen, despite the hazing, he says.

"These are some of the bully activities I have been facing that led me to be concerned about my work environment," he wrote in the one page complaint.  The complaint accused Zimmerman of pressuring him to split deals with him, of repeatedly "impersonating me in a terrorist character," and mocking him constantly to earn the laughs of fellow workers.

In the letter, the colleague states, "Since I started working in CarMax Sanford, George has been dealing with me in an unprofessional manner and have mastered the art of emerging as the nice guy to others in order to make me look like the unsocial type and out of place."

He also accused Zimmerman of giving the new worker "wrong directions about how to perform my job, and then later made jokes to other employees and managers of how 'stupid' I was to listen."

[CLICK HERE TO READ THE COLLEAGUE'S LETTER]

The former car salesman insists that Zimmerman, who was 24 at the time, was not a racist, but would do anything to gain the approval of his colleagues, chiefly harassing their new colleague with Middle Eastern jokes.  He said the racist remarks hurt more than anything else.

Speaking exclusively to ABC News, the man said, "He wasn't joking around.  He was choosing his words.  He was making fun of my accent, or pretending that I have a thick accent."

Zimmerman's former colleague asked that his identity not be revealed because he feared any association with the Zimmerman trial could jeopardize his family's security.

He said the bullying was noticed at CarMax.

"Other sales people would come and approach me and say, don't worry about this guy, he's a bully, he's an idiot, he's young, he doesn't know what he's doing," he said.

The former colleague said others at CarMax said Zimmerman was upset for not getting the promotion he thought he deserved, and that's why he took out his frustration on the colleague.

Zimmerman's attorney would not comment on the story.  CarMax issued a statement saying it did check that matter, but that "CarMax does not provide information on internal human resources matters."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun272012

NY Bullied Bus Monitor Meets Man Behind Donations

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A bullied bus monitor finally got to meet the anonymous benefactor who began the online website that has raised more than $659,000 for her.

Karen Klein, 68, welcomed Max Sidorov into her Greece, N.Y., home Tuesday night.

"Great. Great. Nice guy, nice guy," Klein said.  "I'm very appreciative."

Klein became a public symbol for abusive bullying after a video was posted online showing four seventh-grade boys hurling taunts and crude jokes at her.  The video was seen more than two million times on YouTube.

Sidorov, who is from Toronto, said he was bullied once, too.  After seeing the video, he said, he had to do something.

"I know how it feels. Nobody should have to go through that, ever," he said.

Sidorov set up a website asking for donations to send Klein on a vacation with his original goal set at $5,000.  In its first 24 hours, the fundraising campaign -- on Indiegogo.com, a website that helps advocates raise money for various causes -- raised $125,000.

More than 7,500 signatures have accumulated on a Change.org petition urging President Obama to allow Klein to receive the donations tax-free, even though the money is not taxable.

"I didn't think anyone expected anything like this," Sidorov said.

Klein, a grandmother of eight, one with Down syndrome, said she will donate part of the money to support research.

"I almost feel like I don't deserve it," Klein said.  "They should be sending their donations to other people that have more problems than I do."

Most of all, Klein said she is grateful to Sidorov for turning something painful into something beautiful.

"My wrist band says be a buddy, not a bully," Klein said.

Sidorov said, "That's right.  If everyone gave each other support and kindness, none of this would ever happen anywhere."

The fundraising campaign will remain open for 24 more days.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jun222012

Tormented NY Bus Monitor Won't Press Charges Against Kids

George Doyle/Stockbyte(NEW YORK) -- Karen Klein is living proof that it's not just children who are the victims of bullies.

The 68-year-old school bus monitor from upstate New York now knows she has defenders in every corner of the world after a video posted on YouTube called "Making the Bus Monitor Cry" showed Klein being tormented for 10 minutes by a group of middle-school aged boys, who called her fat and even brought up the suicide of her oldest son.

The outpouring of sympathy for Klein and rage directed at her young taunters is unprecedented, even in this age of many videos going viral.

A Toronto man's plea for people to send money to a fundraising website so that Klein could go on vacation or possibly retire from her job of 20 years in Greece, N.Y., has raised in excess of $450,000. That's coming from more than 15,000 people who chipped in $20 or less.

Clearly overwhelmed by what's happened, Klein says that she does not want charges brought against the four boys who verbally tortured her.

Local police say that while the youngsters' behavior was despicable, serious threats made against the boys and their families are equally intolerable.

Meanwhile, Athena Middle School in suburban Rochester, N.Y., is considering disciplinary action.

A father of one of the seventh-graders said his son is aware of the ramifications of what he did, explaining, "No one has denied accountability, and they've taken responsibility for their actions."

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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