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Boy, 15, who killed himself at school was bullied, parents say

A memorial with a portrait of Drew Ferraro at Crescenta Valley High School on Tuesday, February 14, 2012.

The parents of a 15-year-old Crescenta Valley High School student who jumped to his death on campus last year have filed a lawsuit alleging that district officials turned a “blind eye” to the bullying that they say prompted their son to take his life.

On Feb. 10, Drew Ferraro jumped to his death from a third-story building at the school in front of other students. Not long into the ensuing investigation, a Los Angeles County coroner’s official said Drew did not reference bullying in any of the “very telling” four suicide notes found on his body.

“They didn’t mention anything about being abused or being bullied,” Sheriff’s Lt. John Corina said at the time. “He gave a different reason for doing what he did.”

But Drew’s parents, John and Deana Ferraro, countered that bullying was a major factor in Drew’s suicide. In their lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court in December, the parents claim that beginning in his freshman year, Drew was bullied “because of his small size, demeanor and style” and “harassed for his attitude toward girls.”

They also allege that school officials did not “attempt to create a safer environment within which Drew could learn and evolve.”

On Tuesday, the family’s attorney, Stanley Lieber, declined to disclose the content of the four letters.

“They were intended for the people they were addressed to. They weren’t for the public,” Lieber said, adding that the parents will keep the letters private “as [Drew] intended.”

“All he discussed was the pain he was going through,” Lieber said.

In August, the school district rejected a claim containing similar allegations of inadequate responses to the alleged bullying. But Glendale Unified Supt. Dick Sheehan on Tuesday said he could not comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuit described the alleged bullying and back-and-forth between Drew’s parents and school officials about how to deal with the issue.

-- Kelly Corrigan, Times Community News

Photo: A memorial with a portrait of Drew Ferraro at Crescenta Valley High School on Feb. 14, 2012. Credit: Los Angeles Times

 
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