View Full Version : Family says bullying led to teen's fatal leap at L.A.-area school
02-24-2012, 12:15 AM
School district officials and Los Angeles County Sheriff's investigators on Wednesday stood by their earlier statements that bullying did not factor into a 15-year-old student's decision to jump to his death at a San Fernando Valley high school this month.
Their statements came on the heels of an interview the parents of the student, Drew Ferraro, gave KCBS-TV, in which they claimed recently discovered journal entries had revealed their son was the target of harassment at school, including name-calling and pushing, and that the incidents might have been a factor in his death.
Drew jumped from the roof of a three-story building at Crescenta Valley High School into a cement courtyard during the lunch period on Feb. 10, horrifying witnesses and stunning the larger community.
"The fact that he did do it at school, to me, was a huge statement," his mother, Deana Ferraro said during the television interview.
The Ferraro family's assertions that Drew was bullied stand in stark contrast with those of law enforcement and Glendale Unified officials, who maintained their assessments that bullying played no role in the incident.
Los Angeles Sheriff's Lt. John Corina on Wednesday said the bullying issue was not raised by friends, teachers or family members during the early hours of the investigation. Instead, it only came up after members of the media descended on the school, he said.
Corina also said Drew did not reference bullying in any of the four suicide notes found on his body.
"His suicide notes were very telling" Corina said. "They didn't mention anything about being abused or being bullied. He gave a different reason for doing what he did."
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02-24-2012, 12:25 AM
How sad :(
02-24-2012, 10:07 AM
I'm becoming very concerned with all the suicides that are blamed on very minimal bullying. It's covering up the real issue - depression leads to suicide, not minimal harrassment or a handful of incidents of peer rejection. This sends the false messages that :
1. Kids are INCREDIBLY weak and can't stand even the slightest bit of social discomfort. This is absolutely not true, but the more kids are told that their peers killed themselves over incidents that actually went unnoticed by others, the more they believe they themselves are made of sugar. When you look back through history at what young people can tolerate, and survive - even thrive in, it borders on evil that we are telling our kids they can't.
2. Suicide is caused by a handful of outside incidents that make a normal, healthy teenager kill themselves. That is absolutely not true. When we ignore clinical depression as the cause of suicide, and instead point to a couple of little occurances as the cause, we are missing the foundation problem of what causes teen suicide. Chemical brain disorders that can often be treated successful with medical care, but in any case warrant more supervision of the child to prevent suicide.
Antibullying campaigns are useful to a point, but like missing children campaigns, they have become a lucrative business that thrives on fear and misinformation that the public is paying good money to hear about and believe.
I don't know what this poor soul's suicide notes indicated, he was obviously in a great deal of pain, but it doesn't appear that bullying was the cause and now there's yet ANOTHER program getting underway to tell kids they are at risk for death if they're not popular. So sad, and destructive, and not true.
I'm sorry, but I vehemently disagree. Bullying can and does cause suicide. I consider it a miracle that my 3 siblings and I didn't commit suicide or shoot up the whole school. This was back in 1967-1975. My stingy, tight-fisted miserly dad saw to it that we got bullied by refusing to spend his hard earned money on clothes for his 4 "mistakes." We had to make do with 2 skirts and 2 blouses, none of which matched or went together in any way (believe me - we tried). We were seen in these 2 skirts and 2 blouses week after week, day after day. We would try to make them look different but failed miserably. We would wear one outfit on Mon, Wed, Fri, and the other outfit on Tues and Thurs. Believe me, the whole entire school bullied us except for the other unfortunate kids who were also being bullied. We had no control over how we were treated. We were at the mercy of our dad. We were also not allowed to bathe but once a week and had horrible acne. If we were heard using the precious water, we got yelled at. My twin sister's acne was worse than mine, if that's possible, and one day a boy yelled at the top of his lungs "I bet the only place she doesn't have zits is on her ass!" Can you imagine - do you have ANY idea - how being treated like that makes teenage girls feel? Teenage girls want to be pretty and liked and popular and not be forced to wear the same clothes every day, and want to be clean and sweet-smelling. Our dad was totally oblivious to our suffering. My twin sister asked him "Why are we being punished?" and he said "What do you mean? You're not being punished!" We tried to explain to him that we were being bullied and it just went in one ear and out the other. He didn't care. Now I can walk into any school (I did recently), and immediately pick out the kids who are targets for the bullies. It's written all over their faces. I want to stop them in the hallway and give them a big hug and beg them to be strong. I hope the bullies have some bad karma coming to them. I believe in karma.
02-24-2012, 01:12 PM
Sha, I don't think we disagree at all. Bullying, where it occurs, is horrible. But I'm not surprised you and your siblings didn't commit suicide - because that's not who typically commits suicide. The very lowest rung of the high school social ladder aren't the ones who typically kill themselves.
I went to school in the same general timeframe you did, and when people tell me that bullying is worse today than ever, I have to say NO WAY. No way. What happened in the 70's would NOT be tolerated in the schools my kids go to. At my school there was a family of boys like your family of girls - the dad was this weirdo cop and he dressed his two boys bizarrely. In clothing you'd see on Leave It To Beaver. Plaid pants very narrow at the ankles, short sleeve button up dress shirts, a black belt and black dress shoes. Hair slicked down to their heads, and the boy in glasses had black plastic frame buddy holly style glasses. I literally don't know where they were buying those clothes - they always fit, and they had several sets of them, so it appears they were actually buying and replacing these clothes as they grew out of them. It's a mystery to me why that set of parents went so far out of their way to make their kids objects of ridicule. They were bullied mercilessly, every day. Girls would confide to each other that they gave them "makeovers" in their mind, curious about what they would look like if they weren't wearing what was virtually a "costume" to school, complete with slicked down hair. I don't know why teachers didn't intervene. There were other kids who went to my school who came from poor families who wore garage sale clothing and hand me downs, but their clothing was at least in the "ballpark" of fashionable and it was fine. For this family money wasn't an issue - it was parental sabotage.
We did have two kids in my high school - a girl and a boy, unrelated cases - commit suicide. It was a history of depression and drug use and a romantic break up that that were the causes.
Both were in the middle tier of popularity.
Suicide, and bullying, need to be addressed as problems in schools but they're not the same problem - that is, they're separate and should be treated as such. IMHO. There is a message sent out to kids right now that if you're on the outs with your usual group of friends, and are being rejected at this point, suicide could be an expected outcome. That's just so WRONG, to allow kids to think that a temporary rough social patch could most certainly lead to suicide. That borders on normalizing suicide, IMHO. So instead of making sure that no one is disparaged by their peers for a little while, I think the message needs to be that peers and popularity isn't so important, and if you're not the top rung popularity life is still very worth living because there are more important things to be concerned with. (I realize for young people this will be a hard sell).
I'm really sorry for what happened to you in school. My guess is, you are a much more interesting and successful person than those who led your torment.
Edited to add: If you look through the articles/facebook about Drew, you'll see he wasn't in your shoes. He had a lot of friends, was known for being warm and funny, etc. If there were incidents of name calling and tussling in the hallways, it wasn't a major part of his social standing, and he left 4 suicide notes - none of which mentioned bullying. There was another reason, they aren't disclosing, and I think privacy is fine here in that regard.
JeannaT: Thank you for your reply and your kind words. They are very much appreciated.
I did have one brother, who had the same meager wardrobe we girls did. He's the best brother in the whole world. He always protected us. He was older.
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