Mom taking bullying claims to Albany
A case of alleged bullying in the Buffalo Public School district could now make it's way to the state's education department after the mother of a former student says the district mishandled their investigation. YNN's Meg Rossman has more on her claims and how the district is responding.
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BUFFALO, N.Y. — To say the last two years have been difficult for Carmen Rose Brittan and her daughter would be an understatement.
"It was unbelievable to watch her go from being a happy child to the point where she wanted to kill herself,” Brittan said.
All over two years of bullying she said her 14-year old daughter suffered at the hands of two classmates at City Honors.
"She wouldn't tell me of everything, she would just come and lay her head down and cry and just say this bully had been so mean today," Brittan explained.
Most of it was psychological according to Brittan. She said the bullies went so far as to create a website, attacking her daughter's clothing – then things got violent.
"It got worse and worse, she got slammed over the head with a book,” she recalled.
So the school teacher did what any concerned parent would do and contacted school administrators, even appeared before the board of education. But after months of correspondence and hundreds of emails, that prompted an investigation into her claims, she was less than satisfied with their response.
"I'm not sure that there was any wrongdoing on the part of City Honors,” Buffalo School Board Member Ralph Hernandez said. “City Honors acted in the manner in which they were supposed to."
But Brittan disagrees, claiming her daughter was only questioned once by her principal and not during the course of the investigation which took place between September and October last year.
According to the district's report, the school’s Bias Response Team interviewed Brittan, both the principal and vice principal and their supervisor.
YNN obtained a copy of those findings which in part:
"Dr. Kresse did adequately attempt to resolve alleged complaints…"
And that despite Brittan's claims they were "...contradicted and not substantiated by the alleged victim."
Brittan called the findings outrageous.
"When Dr. Kresse asked my daughter if she were bullied and she was terrified to admit it to him right then and there, the whole case was dismissed."
But school officials maintain that Kresse and his fellow administrators followed procedure.
"I feel very comfortable that we've taken the proper steps,” Hernandez said. “Perhaps maybe we ought to sit down with her, maybe, and have another discussion."
But Brittan is now taking the case to the state level and contemplating a lawsuit.
"I want the Buffalo Public School officials to see they can't just make something go away when it's not convenient for them, at the expense of a school child."
Brittan said her daughter is now attending a private school here in Buffalo and is slowly healing.
Buffalo Public Schools issued a statement saying that after a thorough investigation the case is now closed, adding that any further comment would be a breach of confidentiality.