Washington Teacher Accused of Bullying Student Put on Leave
by ABC Digital
(TACOMA, Wash.) -- A Gig Harbor, Wash., middle school teacher who is accused of bullying a student has been placed on administrative leave after the alleged victim's parents called for the teacher to be fired.
John Rosi, who has been an educator for 18 years, managed to avoid losing his job by accepting a 10-day suspension, according to memos from the Peninsula school district.
The parents of the 13-year-old boy seen on the video, which appears to be a bullying incident, say that's not enough.
The video taken by fellow students on their cell phones of Karla Kinney's 13-year-old son being dragged across the classroom is disturbing. But what really outrages Kinney and her husband is that a teacher was there, too, and they say he joined in.
"When I drop my kids off I'm dropping them off as a parent handing my kids to a school that is going to take care of them," Kinney told ABC News.
The incident happened in a middle school near Tacoma, Wash., in February, but is just now coming to light following a district investigation.
At a time in the video -- which goes on for at least 15 minutes -- it seems as if the boy is playing along. Kinney's son is at one point heard saying, "yeah do that … do what Eric's doing, not my arm."
But in the video a handful of students are also seen writing on the boy's feet, holding a pillow over his face and covering him with chairs.
In the video, Rosi is seemingly mugging for the phone cameras.
Kinney said her son was very upset following the incident, and that the other students blamed him for the teacher being punished.
"He said he wanted to kill himself," she said. "The kids had blamed him for this popular teacher and the suspension he received."
Rosi, who told ABC News he's not allowed to comment, wrote in a letter to investigators that during the incident he did not see it as bullying.
"I can honestly say that at the time I did not believe that any of the children were at risk of harm during their interactions. Nor did I view the incident as anything more than harmless childhood horseplay," he wrote.
Chuck Cuzzetto, Peninsula school district's superintendent, said that "pretty significant disciplinary action" was taken.
Kinney says that she and her husband feel that the entire matter has been made worse by the fact that Rossi is now back at another school.
"I think that somebody who can allow this to happen and participate has no business being in a classroom," Kinney said.
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