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Did Bullying Lead to Teen's Suicide?

Glendale Unified School District officials say they have no indication that bullying led to a 15-year-old boy purposely plummeting to his death in front of dozens of classmates, but parents and students offer a different opinion.

As the Crescenta Valley community reels from Friday's suicide of a teen-age boy, many questions remain about why the youth ended his life, and how he accessed the roof from which authorities say he took a running leap.

from a three-story building on the Crescenta Valley High School campus Friday, hitting the populated quad at the start of lunch time, Lt. John Corina said during a press conference. Several students witnessed the event, others described hearing it. 

CV freshman Myles Dalmau told the Glendale News-Press that a few minutes after the bell rang for lunch, he heard a thud that he thought was a gunshot. Students crowded around the body, which lay face down down and motionless, the article states. Ferraro fell a few feet from Dalmau's friend.

Of the grisly scene, Dalmau told the News-Press, "It was pretty disturbing.'' 

Late Friday night, Brandy Heine's daughter was still in disbelief about what she saw, Heine told Patch, adding that her daughter and Ferraro had gone to school together since third grade. 

"This is very tramatic for someone her age to experience and have to deal with. She said [Ferraro] was a nice kid and didn't deserve this,'' Heine said, adding, "My daughter and her friends feel that bullying was definitely a factor.''

"They tell me that he was often bullied and that the bullying started last year,'' she said. 

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.

The school's main focus now is to comfort the grieving familiy and ensure that crisis counselors are available to students for as long as they'll need help. School is canceled for Monday. 

It is unclear how Ferraro accessed the roof - another point of contention for Heine. 

"I think the CV staff failed for many reasons. How does a student get roof access to the third story (or any story for that matter) during school hours and not one person sees him?

"As a parent of four daughters I am appalled that this happened. I send my children to school everyday thinking that they are safe. I hope that the school will stand up and take responsibility for their part in this. I hope that they will do right by Drew's family and by all the students who saw it,'' Heine said.

The is continuing its investigation. 

Eileen February 14, 2012 at 05:56 AM
To Drew's mom - my sister committed suicide and people said that strangest things to us - some were just thoughtless but some were very hurtful. The people themselves were good people, but I think that everyone tries to rationlize why it couldn't possible happen to them or to someone they know but the fact is - it could. I am just so so sorry for your loss ...
MichaelSmith February 14, 2012 at 12:40 PM
Most teenagers today are faced with obstacles of gaining acceptance from their peers, who are sometimes very unforgiving. To help individuals who are being subjected to spiteful and cruel treatment, schools should adopt a zero tolerance policy against bullying, and have an environment where all students feel welcomed, not fearful to come to. As a parent the most important thing is my child's safety. This blog covers how a mother is dealing with a heartbreaking experience and how you can better protect your kids. This is the link: http://www.tsue-thatswhatshesaid.com/2011/08/your-childs-safety-your-piece-of-mind.html
Junebug February 14, 2012 at 11:09 PM
I am so saddened for the community's loss, especially his families. My daughter knew Drew from her days at Rosemont, and was stunned. I had been to a conference over the weekend and many Mothers who were there had lost a child, mostly boys to suicide. The boys had either had trouble in school or home but the only common denominator was instead of a bully being handled or problem helped to be resolved someone had decided it would be a good idea/easier to drug the child who reached out for help. Thousands of children commit suicide due to the suicidal thoughts these drugs produce, scary. Hence the warning labels on them. I have no idea if Drew was on a "medication" but if he was it would greatly explain why such a kind and considerate young man would so publicly and horrifically end his life. He was loved and he loved his family, so perhaps there could be more that isn't readily apparent.
Nicole Charky February 15, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Thank you for taking time to comment during your time of personal tragedy. I hope you continue to have the support of the community, friends and family.
Mom of a boy a lot like Drew February 15, 2012 at 01:30 AM
My heart goes out to you, Drew's mother. I can't stop thinking, "There but for the grace of God go I!" My son is also a student at CV, he is a young-looking 15, in Drama, plays football, is funny/witty, has a close group of friends, is battling depression but seems happy, and has been bullied in the past (most recently an incident with some older boys who peed on his gym locker). What really scares me is that no one saw this coming. I can only hope that Drew's passing will be a catalyst to bring these kids to light ... the in-between ones who can so easily fall through the cracks.

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