CVHS Students Wear Black, Mourn Teen Suicide

Community members also wrote 7,000 Valentine's Day cards. which were delivered to the students. Meanwhile, there are conflicting reports about whether bullying contributed to the death of Drew Ferraro.

Students carried flowers and dressed in black on Tuesday in remembrance of Drew Ferraro, a 15-year-old student who jumped from a building during lunchtime on Friday in what authorities have confirmed was a suicide. 

Community members worked all weekend to produce 7,000 Valentine's Day cards for CVHS students through the Have a Heart: Contagious LOVE for Crescenta Valley High School group, which was organized mainly through Facebook by Principal Cynthia Livingston. 

Students and parents met for an optional prayer at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday outside of school. They also gathered at in the quad at a memorial for the student. Inside the halls, each student had a note on their locker that read, "You are loved."

CVHS Principal Michele Doll made a public announcement for students at the beginning of school saying, "You are all my Falcons, and we care about you."

“It is going to be hard, and we will get through this together," Doll said.

Nearly 40 counselors and psychologists from Glendale Unified School District, and six counselors from Burbank Unified School District, are available for students to talk to throughout the week, Stephen Frasher of GUSD told Patch. 

students signed and brought a "LCHS <3 CVHS" banner, which was placed on the quad's rally platform, Frasher said. CVHS students signed their own memorial poster during break and lunch.

Grief counselors will be available for students at the Firehouse at 7 p.m. at 2563 Foothill Boulevard, near Rosemont Avenue, in La Crescenta, Mary O'Keefe of Prom Plus and Crescenta Valley Weekly told Patch. 

will host Joan Cochran, MFT and Executive Director of The Center for Grief and Loss for Children and Teens, part of the Hathaway Sycamores Child and Family Services, the largest Children and Teen agency in Los Angeles County, O'Keefe said. Cochrain will give a brief talk on "The Courage to Remember," followed by a question and answer session.

"Joan's primary goal is to enable adults and youth to come away with practical steps to apply to their lives as we, individually and as a community, move forward through the trauma and grief of processing the tragic events of last Friday," according to a prepared statement.

All Students and Parents Welcome

All students and parents are welcome to attend the Firehouse event, O'Keefe said. News media are not permitted, she added. 

Teachers, administrators and students are expected to attend Drew's funeral Wednesday at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Tujunga, according to Crippens Mortuary. A private internment will follow. 

Prom Plus is collecting finger food with the Los Angeles Police Department--Drew's father serves as an LAPD police officer--for the funeral Wednesday and requests public donations, including trays of sandwiches and desserts for the reception following the funeral, according to Amy Hoag Jahnke on the open Have a Heart: Contagious LOVE for Crescenta Valley High School. Collections will happen from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Firehouse. 

Prom Plus will also collect gift cards from grocery stores and local restaurants for the family, Jahnke said. 

"We are asking people/organizations to place their donations in a signed card and drop them off at several locations we have arranged," according to a Prom Plus statement.

Those locations include: CV Weekly at 3800 La Crescenta Ave. #101 in La Crescenta; Frank's Famous Deli at 3315 North Verdugo Rd. in Glendale; Firehouse on Tuesdays from 6 p.m to 9 p.m. and Thursdays 7:15 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.; and CVHS, with Mr. Smiley who will collect school donations. 

"Prom Plus is keenly aware of how devastating a tragic loss of a child can be, we are also aware of how our community is able to pull together, support, and comfort each other," according to a Prom Plus statement. "We are working with LAPD, and family representatives to make certain we are not duplicating efforts. We also want to be sensitive to the family's needs."

"There's been a lot of student support which is great for students and staff here," Frasher said. 

Counselors on Campus

Students grieved on campus Tuesday in the library with counselors, in the quad with fellow students and inside the classrooms with teachers who asked students to share any emotions surrounding the campus suicide. Faculty stood by and remained with students during the school day. 

"Anyone who needs help, feels sad, we are here for them," Frasher said. 

Sheriff's officials continue an investigation and confirmed that notes were found, according to Sheriff's Lt. John Corina. 

“He did leave a suicide note, which gave a reason,” Lt. John Corina said. “[His suicide] had nothing to do with drugs, alcohol or bullying.”

CV student Olin Tellefsen told CBS News that Ferraro was a close friend. He described Ferraro as "a smart, witty kid who played football and loved heavy metal, concerts and his friends,'' the website states.  Tellefsen said Ferraro was taunted. He mentioned Ferraro was involved in a fight with several boys last year that upset him deeply, but he never expected this.

Glendale Unified School District Superintendent Richard Sheehan said repeatedly on Friday that officials have no indication that the boy's death is a result of bullying. Last week, the high school held a student assembly to address bullying and methods for coping, the News-Press reported

"I think they really have to dig into this, because it's not right and bullying is a factor," Mauricio Vinan, a CVHS parent and La Crescenta resident, told Patch.  

Drew's mother, who commented on Patch and is confirmed as his mother, stated that her son was bullied:

As Drews mother, he was a brilliant smart young man. He was loving and caring. Always ready to reach out to those who needed a hand. Our hearts are truly in pieces. There was bullying for the past year and he had the support of his family. I am sorry if you don't understand our [loss] and our wishes and healing prayers to those that witnessed his final moments.

Anonymous February 15, 2012 at 07:34 AM
The school district can deny, but if the truth is that there was bullying, that is the truth. I am certain his mother and friends knew better then someone coming in trying to defend GUSD.
Anonymous 2 February 15, 2012 at 09:03 AM
Actually it should be a serious federal crime to cover up real events or reasons, as here is bullying, just for self preservation and fear of legal and moral liability !!
abba February 15, 2012 at 02:59 PM
I Can not believe what the Ferraro family is going through! But they are in our families thoughts. As a mother myself I know their is plenty of bulling going on at the public schools. My son even has been bullied for many times in elementary school but not much got done about it. (we went 3 times to the principal) Even at rosemont somebody beat him up. You would think the school would sit down with the parents of the children involved in the bulling and the parents of the child being bullied. Lucky my son found a new group of very nice friends that are there for him. STOP THE BULLING Mom of DREW, I'm thinking of you everyday!
Elizabeth Nazarian February 15, 2012 at 04:23 PM
How thoughtful it was to give Valentines to the children. I think that's a wonderful way to show support for everyone involved. Love to all.
George L. February 15, 2012 at 04:35 PM
With all the tragedy that has surrounded bullying and its exposure in the mainstream media you would think the culture in our schools would change. Everyone wants to blame someone and its very easy to point the finger at the school and the district in light of their lack of action and post commentary. From an outsiders perspective and someone who was bullied once, my opinion is that this is a much bigger, culturally entrenched problem. I see a solution being much more than just the school taking action. First, a kid should always tell their parents about things like this. If a parent doesn't know, they can do nothing. Second, a parent must act on this knowledge going as far as they legally can. This may upset some, but can a parent request a restraining order against a minor? I don't know of a precedence to support this but it would immediately give the bully no option but to change schools. Third, the faculty and staff must proactively prevent and correct bullying behavior. Sure some of it doesn't happen in plain view, but when students speak up and you do nothing you are part of the problem. Fourth, the student body. Its really hard for me to fathom that the majority of the student body at any school supports and/or inflicts bullying on others. Therefore its my opinion that if students see others bullying, they speak up. Bullys get power not from themselves but from others condoning their actions, they become popular for putting down the little guy. Cont...
Chris Evans February 15, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Ironically, the only people who can have any real impact about bullying in schools are the kids themselves. I would hazard a guess that bullying has been an unfortunate downside of society ever since the onset of society itself. We tend to bemoan the notion that bullying seems to on the rise, but we are restricted to the subjective visage of our own generation. How would we know what went on in prior times? Perhaps because communication is so much better..or at least more available..we hear of it more than before, but I doubt that things were any better in times past. I grew up in the 50' and 60's, & in 12 years of Catholic school, very often the biggest bullies were the teachers ..corporal punishment was meted out on a regular basis, for the slightest of infractions, with such tacit approval from parents that one came to expect it. As for the unavoidable schoolyard bullies, their victims had to learn how to deal with them. It was and still is an unfortunate fact of life. I was a chubby kid in grade school, and awkward in high school, so I got picked on a lot .. but being fairly large, and having a good sense of humor, got me out of more than a few whuppin's..My defenses were the ability to take a punch (Thank you, Sister Rose Gertrude!) or make the bully laugh. What I did learn was that all bullies are cowards, and once exposed as such, they either stop or move on. Sadly, this is one of those life lessons that children tend learn on their own. Blessings on the Ferraro clan
George L. February 15, 2012 at 04:44 PM
...resumed. We as a culture enable bullies by not stopping them. By not confronting their parents and by not assigning any consequence for what they do. In some cases no physical harm is done, just like in a bad marriage, but severe psychological harm is. And in many cases, that is worse than the physical harm. By all the 4 entities listed in my previous post not doing all they can has allowed bullies to continue to wreak havoc on adolescents. Its not a perfect solution and it may not be one at all but I hope this gets you to ask the question, could we change this thing? can we prevent it from happening? Everyone is sad, the student body mourns a loss but where was the student body when the bullying was happening? Lastly, there is one more step to a solution and this is the biggest. If you, as a parent, are approached by the faculty or a parent and tell you that your kid has been found bullying, take it seriously! You are the biggest factor in correcting this unwanted and dangerous behavior. There is a saying, "it takes a village" and you may not think anyone outside of your home has a responsibility to your offspring but they do whether you like it or not. When your kid leaves your home, they are among the village and we all have a responsibility to be kind to each other and treat each other with respect.
Chris Evans February 15, 2012 at 07:46 PM
I agree with you, George, in that something needs to be done. Unfortunately, you make the critical assumption that these parents are as responsible as you obviously are. I still believe the solutions exist within the subsociety of the kids themselves. The flaw in the logic of exposing a bully as such to his parent is that it is pointless. Why? Because most of the time, it is the parenting, or lack thereof, which is the very source of the problem. Parents of bullies are very often bullies themselves. The rest of the time, even if they know the truth, the parent of a bully will invariably deny that his or her "little darling" could be guilty of such an offense or behavior. George, you would go ballistic if you learned that your kid was a bully in school; that's precisely why he wouldn't be one in the first place. When my son was six, he was bullied by a 15 year old. By then, I had developed some skills in a frequently violent line of work, & had developed size & strength that could be regarded as intimidating. Oddly enough, I found that the only people I really intimidated were..wait for it..bullies! This bully's father accepted my dressing down, the kid straightened out, only because he was afraid of me, & not receptive to what the results of a second encounter might be. Simply put, In his eyes, I outbullied him, without touching him, swearing, or raising my voice. Again, bullies are cowards, & few parents would own up to that. I wish your solution was feasible.
Darcy Cormier February 15, 2012 at 08:40 PM
More than anything, my heart is breaking for the Ferrero family. They have been in my prayers and in my heart since the moment I heard of the suicide. I cannot fathom the anguish they are experiencing. May God give them strength and hold them all in His arms through this terrible time.
Anonymous February 16, 2012 at 03:20 AM
I did not know drew but there isn't a day that I haven't thought of him and the tragedy the family is going through. DREW you will not be forgotten . I hope his family will get through this. I AM SO SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS TO ALL THAT KNEW HIM. Our thoughts are with the family. We will get through this together
Anonymous February 16, 2012 at 03:24 AM
THE BULLING MUST STOP !!!!! ... Before it's too late.
abba February 16, 2012 at 03:28 AM
I'm with you on that one!!!! STOP BULLING!
tom_tessie February 16, 2012 at 06:28 AM
http://www.insideoutys.org/law-protects-lgbt-students/ WHY CANT WE MAKE ANTI BULLYING/law in our schools in CA? FAQs on New Colorado Anti-bullying Law | Inside/Out Youth Services www.insideoutys.org UPDATE AUGUST 2011–The Colorado Department of Education provides answers to the most frequently asked questions about HB1254, the new Colorado law that requires all state school districts to adopt anti-bullying policies that are inclusive of all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender.
Lauren February 17, 2012 at 06:44 AM
It's nice that this is getting so much attention, I suppose, but Montrose resident Rashad Varma committed suicide by jumping off the Pasadena bridge just a few short months ago and The Montrose Patch didn't write ANYthing about it. He was a well-loved young man too. Why didn't he get any attention? Is it because he wasn't white? :(
Chris Evans February 17, 2012 at 02:14 PM
How unfortunate is it that such a sad affair needs to be muddled by the race card. Pretty much anything that appears..or doesn't appear..in the news media, can be expediently contorted or misconstrued by someone with a biased axe to grind. I am equally saddened by the news that Rashad took his own life, but this is the first I ever heard of it. Admittedly, I am not a local boy, and hget this news only online, but had he done so as traumatically publicly as did Drew, he would have garnered every bit as much attention. Perhaps that was not his intent, for as it was, he chose to slip into oblivion in a more private fashion.His reasons for doing so may have been vastly different than Drew's motives; he may have wanted to disappear, perhaps not even have his body found. We'll never know, though, will we? That's mere speculation on my part, to be sure, but it is every bit as valid as the bigoted speculation you're laying own here, Lauren.. Really, since you obviously have access to the Patch papers, if you felt it to be newsworthy, why didn't YOU do something, "just a few short months ago"? Maybe reacting is just plain easier that acting.
Nicole Charky (Editor) February 17, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Thank you for commenting, Lauren. I think using race to explain why Montrose Patch didn't run an article about Rashad is irresponsible as a community member. Thank you for bringing Rashad's death to my attention.
Patrick Lee February 17, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Hi Lauren: Thanks for your comment. We are sensitive here at Patch to any issues involving youth and suicide, but our policy is not to cover individual suicides unless there are other extenuating factors. In the case of Drew Ferraro, this was a highly public event that took place at a school, involved law enforcement and may have had something to do with bullying, a matter of great public interest. A suicide such as Rashad Varma's, while undeniably sad and tragic, seems more a personal matter that doesn't rise to the level of public interest. Of course, if we are mistaken about Varma's situation and there are factors about the death that raise other issues, we're very interested in revisiting the case.
Annonymous February 17, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Bullying won't stop until parents and other adults stop making excuses for it. Kids can't always tell you why they bully someone - only that they "don't like" so and so. We need to hold the bar high for treating every person with respect and dignity and for including everyone. The practice of excluding some people, making some cool versus uncool, will continue the bullying atmosphere. The responsibility comes at every level - from parents to siblings to teachers to administrators. It's an uncomfortable and inconvenient truth.
Annonymous February 17, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Bullying won't stop until parents and other adults stop making excuses for it. Kids can't always tell you why they bully someone - only that they "don't like" so and so. We need to hold the bar high for treating every person with respect and dignity and for including everyone. The practice of excluding some people, making some cool versus uncool, will continue the bullying atmosphere. The responsibility comes at every level - from parents to siblings to teachers to administrators. It's an uncomfortable and inconvenient truth.
anon June 30, 2012 at 03:07 AM
From a reliable source I heard there was a note discovered in his pockets and in it, it is clear that it was not infact bullying that caused Drew's suicide. LAPD confirmed that bullying was not the main reason but the contents remain confidential and is probably related to family problems. I've also heard that he wasn't severely bullied at all. Mabye the family is dismissing the cause and saying it was due to bullying to avoid unnecessary conflicts. However, no one will ever know...
Chris Evans June 30, 2012 at 03:02 PM
As soon as you describe yourself as "anon", the entire concept of a "reliable source" goes down the drain .. this is rumor-mongering at its lowest form, and you are out of bounds by adding an element of alleged discord to a family already strapped with grief .. Shame on you, "anon"..


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »