Investigation shows school district followed bullying protocol prior to teen’s suicide

SHEFFIELD — No wrongdoing has been found by Sheffield Middle School staff in the March 23 suicide of a 14-year-old student whose friends and aunt said he’d been bullied.

Parti Holland II

Parti Holland II

Parti Holland II hung himself in his bedroom in his Knickerbocker Road home in Sheffield Lake, according to Dr. Stephen Evans, Lorain County coroner. A few students and Jeanie Workman, Parti’s aunt, said Parti, who was 6-foot-3 and 275 pounds, was bullied because of his size and easygoing nature and because he was black. They said Parti complained in the weeks before he died that staff weren’t taking his complaints seriously because of his size.

Superintendent Will Folger said in a Monday news release that Chronicle-Telegram stories about the complaints prompted an internal investigation and one by Sheffield police. The internal investigation was done by Gary Friedt, district director of pupil services. Capt. Bill Visalden conducted the external investigation.

Visalden said Tuesday he interviewed three people at the school and called the investigation “very uneventful.” He said no criminal complaint was filed and the school district requested the investigation. Visalden wouldn’t release the investigation report, saying parts of it might need to be censored because it concerns a juvenile.

Folger called Parti’s death a “tragedy” for the Holland family and the community.

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Feds fault Albany schools in race-bullying response

The Albany school district inappropriately handled a race-bullying incident by removing the victim from the school instead of her harassers, the U.S. Department of Education has found.

The eighth-grade honors student, who is biracial, was repeatedly harassed by white classmates at Hackett Middle School in March 2012, according to a federal complaint filed by her parents. The students who bullied the girl mockingly donned Ku Klux Klan hoods, asked how much her parents had paid to adopt her and compared her skin color to theirs in Spanish class comparison exercises, the document also states.

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What to do when sibling teasing goes too far

On a recent morning, Heli Wiener had a minor crisis on her hands. Her 3-year-old daughter was playing with an old cell phone and her 5-year-old son wanted it all for himself.

“He was getting in her face about it, so she was hitting him because she wanted him to leave her alone,” Wiener, of Deerfield, Ill., told TODAY Moms.

“My daughter is extremely sweet and kind (but) she developed some of those bad habits of teasing and hitting because she sees it works for him,” Wiener says.

The story of siblings not getting along is as old as Cain and Abel, but there’s real reason to worry when the kid hostility goes too far. Research published Monday found that being picked on by a brother or sister can be harmful to a child’s mental health.

Michele Borba, a parenting expert and TODAY contributor, travels around the country to educate parents about bullying and whenever the subject of sibling intimidation comes up, there’s a visible reaction.

“You see nodding, you see concern,” Borba says. “It’s clearly an issue.”

Many parents have been told to stay out of routine kid squabbles so the children can work out their conflicts by themselves and Borba agrees with that approach. Wiener, who writes the Mommy’s Two Cents blog, follows it as well.

“When we’re removed from it, there seem to be closer and more tender moments shared, but when we’re involved, frequently their interaction is tattling, fighting, and arguing,” she said.

But moms and dads shouldn’t ignore bullying, which is different from teasing and goes beyond normal sibling fighting or rivalry, Borba said.

She advises parents to look for the three classic signs of bullying: an imbalance of power, where one child cannot stand up to the other kid because of size, age or other factors; intentional cruelty, and mistreatment that keeps repeating, rather than being a one-time offense.

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Alleged Bully Teacher Removed at East, Parents Say More to be Done

A teacher at Cherry Hill East who allegedly bullied her freshman English students is out of the classroom, replaced by a long-term sub, but parents who first brought the concerns to school administrators say the situation still isn’t completely resolved.

Kimberly Real, who parents say insulted her freshman students and used discriminatory and insensitive language in the classroom, was yanked about three weeks ago, more than a month after a group of parents brought their concerns before the school board.

Though it’s a step in the right direction, more remains before they consider the situation closed, they said.

“I think it’s a win, absolutely,” Susan Levy Warner said. “Our children are not being subjected to the harassment and bullying any longer…but it’s not over—it’s not been completely resolved.”

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Noah Kilpatrick, 15, Leaves School After Allegedly Being Bullied By Teachers Over Canadian Heritage

Teachers at this upstate New York private school appear to have some unresolved issues with the United States’ friendly neighbor to the north.

Fifteen-year-old Noah Kilpatrick is finishing the semester at home after enduring relentless bullying about his Canadian heritage, WWNY reports. Surprisingly, it was not the students at Faith Fellowship Christian School in Watertown, N.Y., who took issue with his Ottawa roots, but the school’s principal and a math teacher, he says.

Kilpatrick said that despite his American citizenship, the teachers would taunt him for being born in Canada in front of other classmates. He noted incidents in which the school’s principal –- who doubled as his history teacher –- described Canada as a country full of communists and seal-clubbers, according to the National Post.

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New bill could send bullies to jail

LANSING — A new bill could crack down on bullying by making it a crime.

House Bill 4746 was introduced this week by Rep. Dale Zorn.

Under the bill, bullying and cyber bullying would be punishable by up to 93 days in jail or a fine of up to $1,000, or both. The bill would also let the court call for a mental health evaluation of someone convicted of bullying.

“I have met with school administrators, students, parents, prosecutors and judges to create legislation that defines the assault of bullying in schools, the workplace and over the internet,” said Zorn, R-Ida.  “The behavior of bullying has become a societal problem that may need to be eradicated through professional counseling.

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Mom whose son died in hazing: ‘Don’t dismiss it’

The mother of a Florida college student killed in a hazing ritual urged the audience at a Maine Township anti-hazing forum never to forget incidents of hazing and bullying in their community.

“The moment you forget is the moment it reoccurs,” said Pam Champion, the Georgia mom whose son Robert died in 2011 after being beaten during a hazing ritual on a Florida A&M band charter bus.

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