13-year-old Daniel Fitzpatrick died by suicide last week after receiving a torrent of bullying while at school.
His letter explains how when Daniel returned to the Holy Angels Catholic Academy, and his friends turned their backs on him. A group of boys began a yearlong harassment campaign against him, and nobody really seemed that interested in helping (with one exception noted in his letter). According to his parents, both they and Daniel brought their concerns to the school administration but with little effect.
“Danny said that he was afraid of his teachers,” his mom said. “He felt like the whole school knew what was going on and was laughing behind his back. They humiliated him.” (NY Daily News)
Others have said that a certain teacher — who Daniel had — held a particularly bad reputation for joining in with student bullies and harassing students as well.
A teacher also embarrassed Daniel by calling him “lazy” in front of the class, the boy’s father alleged.
Kristen, the youngest of Daniel’s three older sisters, also attended Holy Angels in Bay Ridge and said the teacher was known for humiliating students.
He would hold up tests and papers at school dismissal, publicly displaying students’ scores to embarrass those who did poorly, she said.
“If one person didn’t like you, no one liked you,” she said. “Danny was always left out. He used to come up to me and ask me to get kids to play with him. The other kids would say they thought he was weird.” (NY Daily News)
Here’s the letter, everything in Daniel’s own words:
At first it was good, lots of friends, good grades, and great life, but I moved and went back and it was different. My old friends changed, they didn’t talk to me, they didn’t even like me. 6th grade comes and Anthony, my “friend,” he failed and I failed too. But Anthony took it out on me. He bullied me along with John, Marco, Kose, and Jack. They did it constantly until I went into a fight with Anthony and everyone stopped except John — he was angry.
I ended up getting x-rays for my pinkie from John. He ended up fighting John and got a fractured pinkie. He got into a lot of trouble as for me, no trouble at all. But then they continued and I gave up. The teachers didn’t do ANYTHING! Not get them in trouble, even though they did trouble, I got in trouble instead. Anthony was mad at me because he believed I failed him. Mrs. McGoldrich didn’t do anything. I told all the teachers, nothing, except Ms. D’Alora, she was the nicest teacher ever, she understood and did something, but it didn’t last long.
I wanted to get out. I begged and pleaded. Eventually I did get out. I failed, but I didn’t care I was out and that’s all I wanted.
Daniel’s parents have stood up to try to combat this bullying and impact a change. They didn’t want to issue to be swept under the rug.
Daniel’s father — Daniel Fitzpatrick Sr. — has posted two Facebook live videos talking about the saddening events.
“I’m telling every child out there. You have to stay strong. You matter to me.” — Daniel Fitzpatrick Sr. in video
Daniel’s father thanks everyone for their support in two very emotional videos.
The family has set up a GoFundMe to raise money for a memorial for their son, which has so far raised over 100k of its 10k goal.
Hopefully there is appropriate accountability here, and that we see an eventual elimination of bullying in the world.