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Friday
Oct292010

Father of Suicide Teen Says Groton Overreacted to Bully Accusation

Photo Courtesy - Groton[dot]org(GROTON, Mass.) -- The father of a teenager who killed himself after being forced out of the exclusive Groton School claims the prep school overreacted to accusations that his son may have bullied another student.

Hunter Perkins, 16, was clearly upset about being forced out of Groton, a private boarding school in Massachusetts. On Oct. 5, Perkins went on Facebook and posted a message to his friends: "I'm leaving. Don't know when, or how, but I know why, and that doesn't make it any better," Perkins wrote. "Good bye."

The next day, Perkins' father Walter came to pick his son and take him home to Chantilly, Va. Five days later, Hunter Perkins took his own life, shooting himself with a gun that had belonged to his deceased mother.

Walter Perkins suggested to ABC News that Groton overreacted after a homophobic cartoon ridiculing a fellow student was emailed to others.

"I do believe that if Groton or any of these other schools checked what the kids do on the Web, it wouldn't be that far afield for what my son ended up paying dearly for doing," he said in a voice mail.

The father also said, "I think there might be some relation to the tragedy at Rutgers," he said referring to Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi who committed suicide after his roommate caught him on a Webcam and streamed his tryst with another man.

Walter Perkins implied that other news outlets had distorted his comments about the school's role in his son's death.

"I must say that it wasn't a simple cause and effect that I believe that PC [political correctness] led the headmaster of Groton to murder my son," he said.

In interviews with other news outlets, Walter Perkins said that he was told to pick up his son from Groton after an incident in which Hunter and two other boys drew sexual, homophobic cartoons making fun of another student.

"He either doctored a photograph or put a cartoon bubble on it," Perkins told WCVB, ABC's Boston TV affiliate. "He said his roommate e-mailed them out. He had no idea the kid was going to do that."

After that, Walter Perkins says, officials at Groton repeatedly encouraged him to withdraw Hunter from school rather than go through a disciplinary process and face expulsion. A few days before Hunter's suicide, Walter Perkins and Groton headmaster Richard Commons reportedly reached an agreement to have Hunter leave Groton.


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