Parents Want Teacher Fired After Bullying of Son Caught on Tape
(TACOMA, Wash.) — The parents of a Washington middle school student who was recorded in what appears to be a bullying incident where he is seen being dragged around the room and has a sock stuffed in his mouth are outraged that the teacher, who they believe joined in, is still on the job.
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 her son’s feet, holding a pillow over his face and covering him with chairs.
John Rossi, the teacher in the room at the time, had been an educator for 18 years. In the video he is seemingly mugging for the phone cameras. He managed to avoid losing his job by accepting a 10-day suspension, according to memos from the Peninsula school district.
Kinney said that her son was very upset following the incident, and that the other students blamed him.
“He said he wanted to kill himself,” she said. “The kids had blamed him for this popular teacher and the suspension he received.”
Rossi, who told ABC News he’s not allowed to comment, wrote in a letter to investigators.
“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.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio