West Haven, Connecticut (WTNH) - School bullying is an all too common problem and one West Havenfamily says it is plaguing them. They say bullies who targetedtheir daughter went too far.
News 8 talked to Dr. Young Shin Kim at the Yale Child StudyCenter. The doctor is an expert on bullying and she says now morethan ever bullying can quickly get out of control, thanks to socialmedia and portable phones. And how schools and parents respond canhave long term consequences.
13-year old Ana Spehar is out of the hospital and back at St.Lawrence School in West Haven. She says it’s a place where --just a few weeks ago -- she could no longer bear to be.
"I had gotten some really nasty things said about me,” Anasaid.
Her mother and stepfather say this once confident, popular,high-achieving 8th grade girl was becoming quiet and withdrawn.
What started at school, they say, was continuing and escalatingafter dismissal through text messages and online.
"It really takes a blow to your self-esteem,” Anacontinued. “Because, I mean, when you have a bunch of peopleagainst you, just telling you what's wrong with you all the time,and that's all you see about yourself."
After awhile, she started to believe it.
John, Ana’s stepfather, explained,” We had madeseveral calls to the principal, several calls to the archdiocese ofHartford, and it was summarily dismissed until there was asignificant problem. Ana was hospitalized over this."
The Spehars are talking to News 8 because they don't want anyother families to go through what they've gone through. And theysay schools -- and parents -- need to see bullying for the dangerthat it is.
"Parents should be made aware. If there are going to be peanutsserved at school, a note would go home in everybody'sbackpack,” Ana’s mother added. “When there was abus accident, there was a phone call to every parent. What happenedto Ana is terrible and nobody wants to talk about it."
In this case, Ana’s parents say St. Lawrence -- and someof its families -- did not live up to the higher standards theyclaim to uphold.
"One would think that when you put together education andreligion, that only the best parts of the religious aspect wouldcome through; turning the other cheek, being kind, being gentle,forgiving, and protecting the weak, as it were. And I can't saythat's happened here,” Ana’s stepfather Johncontinued.
The principal of St. Lawrence School, Paul DeFonzo, did give New8 a lengthy response.
He says, quote, "It is our understanding that much of theclaimed activity occurred via electronic media, including theinternet."
He goes on to say, "We anticipate that we will talk to parents,students and others. Keeping in mind our obligation to allstudents, we will determine a course of action that will bedesigned to ensure student safety, and prevent any future incidentsof bullying."
Click here to read St. Lawrence School's full statement release on May 26th.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Two men extradited from Britain last year are expected to change their pleas on charges they supported terrorists in Afghanistan and Chechnya by operating websites to raise cash, recruit fighters and solicit items …
The effort to get guns off the streets of Hartford kicks into high gear this weekend with a gun buyback event.
Repairs to fix a water main break in downtown Hartford could last through the evening commute.
If you're stopping to get a cup of coffee or a quick bite to eat today, some of the people who are normally behind the counter may be rallying outside the restaurant.
Route 15 has reopened following a multi-vehicle accident in Hamden.
A Lebanon man was arrested after allegedly biting his wife Monday, police said.
Two 17-year-old boys are being charged in connection with a drunk driving accident that resulted in their friend's death, police said.
The owner of a New York marine construction firm and crane operator have been charged with reckless endangerment in connection with a crane collapse in Stamford Harbor.
New Haven's police chief has apologized for a three-day delay in releasing information about the death of a Yale University professor while in detention.
An early morning crash has left one person dead in Woodbridge.