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I Care: Editor's Letter to Drew Ferraro's Family, CVHS

Montrose Patch Editor Nicole Charky responds to the suicide of 15-year-old Drew Ferraro and how our community can join together.

Our community cannot forget Drew Ferraro - nor should we. 

Several days following his suicide, and on this Valentine's Day, local educators requested community cards saying 'I CARE.' I am writing this open letter as a Montrose resident to Drew's family, students, CVHS teachers and administration because I believe that our community has an immediate call to action and should demand answers. 

To Drew's family, I offer you my sincere condolences during this incredibly difficult time. Please know an entire network of parents, neighbors and friends are by your side and grieve with you. I hope our community remembers Drew's spirit, the people he touched and joy he brought. 

To students and educators at , I believe the school community can clearly say that tormenting others is not and -- will never be -- tolerable. As a community, we need to demand change and continue a dialogue about bullying, whether that be with school counselors, in plays like , with others at Crescenta-Canada YMCA, Crescenta Valley Drug and Alcohol Prevention Coalition, Firehouse or with local church or religious groups. 

We need more information about this tragic death. I urge Glendale Unified School District and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to clarify how teasing or bullying was not a factor in Drew Ferraro's death when . , according to sheriff's officials. The exact reason was not immediately released due to a pending investigation. 

Like you, I feel left with only questions and unexplained responses. Why did Drew take his life? What happened to upset him so deeply? How will our area children and families recover?

It's going to take time, support and a new approach toward local kids. I encourage anyone who sees bullying or hears about it to step up, say something and end it immediately. Our children are begging to make it stop. Our area can't afford to lose another child and if it's support that local kids need, then it's our responsibility to find a mode or method of grieving. 

On Tuesday, Drew's family and friends will remember him by wearing black. There will be an optional prayer service at 7:30 a.m. in front of the Auditorium and students will receive 'I CARE' Valentine's Day cards created by several thousand locals to help in the healing process. 

I'll be at CVHS, ready to support the community and remembering Drew long after the broadcast news vans disappear. Will you be there for our children, our community? Where do you think we should go from here?

Elizabeth Nazarian February 15, 2012 at 04:27 PM
Amen.
Annie Kwan February 15, 2012 at 05:10 PM
My heart goes out to the family and to Drew who was obviously in pain. If this was bullying this needs to stop NOW! Please talk to your children let them know that bullying is not right!! Have them go to a teacher, administrator, parent anyone who can help. Also, they should be told not to just stand by and watch someone be bullied. Speak up, don't turn away. If our kids learn to do this in numbers maybe the bullying would stop or at least not be so bad. I know it is stated that bullying is not why he decided to take his life, but his mother thinks so and as a mother myself we know our children best. Let's speak up..... Remember.... Silence Kills! Annie Kwan La Crescenta Resident
Ginnie Barbacena February 15, 2012 at 11:47 PM
My son attended Drew's funeral services today. He had known him since 6th grade and shared the same classes with him at CVHS. My son is heart-broken along with his friends and I cannot stress enough how important it is to be there for these students now and allow them to grieve and help them cope with this loss. As a parent, this incident has made me reflect on how important it is to tell our children how much we love them and that we are there for them at all times. My thoughts go out to Drew's parents and other CVHS parents. May we find comfort in each other through this difficult time.
Susan Rowton February 17, 2012 at 01:12 AM
My deepest condolences to the Ferraro family. My family doesn't know yours, but we talk of you each day and send you love & prayers. Without knowing details, just subtle statements that there was indeed bullying, I ask the community to please consider for a minute that all is not as perfect as we would hope and want in our cozy life here. It is in our refusal to consider that which we don't want to believe and to keep silent that harm is able to come to others, especially our children. My oldest experienced bullying in 5th grade. Luckily his teacher took it seriously and helped to end it. We've had many experiences with bully teachers/administrators. Not the schools, GUSD or other parents have wanted to take seriously or believe our stories. As long as administrators and teachers can get away with modeling bullying behavior, there will always be kids bullying other kids. We have experienced varying degrees of bullying from very subtle to outright demeaning. Some bullying has been an attempt to quiet us. I have many stories. I found a CV teacher failing over 50% of her students (D's & F's) in 4 classes. Another required kids to grade themselves, then would give a final grade which was always 2-5 points less out of a possible 35. This is demeaning and demoralizing. In 3rd grade my son laid awake at night crying, his teacher bullied him. He was given ATS recently, his CV teacher wouldn't consider his distress that led to the mistake, his phone rang. Silence hurts.
Aileen Zanteson February 19, 2012 at 08:58 PM
My love to the Ferraro family during their time of grief and tragedy. Remembering Drew and his warm presence.

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