Staten Island boy who took his own life.
May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace.
He gave up.
I facetiously posted on bullying yesterday, and a friend alerted me to the suicide story of a 13 year old Brooklyn Catholic schoolboy and was shocked by my ill timed post. Rightly so. Suicide is not an appropriate solution to bullying, especially the kind that is ignored and allowed to continue by school officials. The story of Danny Fitzpatrick is truly heartbreaking.
At Holy Angels Catholic Academy in Brooklyn, Daniel Fitzpatrick’s biggest test had nothing to do with academics.
The 13-year-old seventh-grader — like so many young people in schools across the country — was the target of relentless bullying because of his grades, his weight and his sweet disposition, family members told the New York Daily News.
This summer, Daniel detailed some of his toughest struggles in a letter that accused classmates of turning on him — and school officials of ignoring his pleas for help.
Then, just days before his 14th birthday, he decided he’d had enough. On Thursday, he wrapped a belt around his neck and hung himself inside the attic of his family’s Staten Island home.
“I gave up,” he wrote in the letter that preceded his death by several weeks. “The teachers . . . they didn’t do anything.” - WP - The parents story here.
There appears to be more to this story. From the Washington Post:
Documents obtained by The Washington Post offer a more complicated picture of Daniel’s life and reveal that some believe the teenager’s struggles extended beyond the bullying he faced at school.
The boy’s father, also named Daniel Fitzpatrick, told the Daily News that he had been at odds with Holy Angels ever since officials there recommended that Daniel repeat the seventh grade at another school. The suggestion was offensive, Fitzpatrick told the paper, because he attributed Daniel’s academic struggles to the merciless bullying he suffered, noting that the boy’s “confidence was completely shattered.”
Last fall, in a report filed with New York City’s Administration of Children’s Services and obtained by The Post, an investigator wrote that Daniel was failing his classes and engaging in angry outbursts in class.
“Danny said mom being drunk affects him in everything and makes him angry,” the report stated. “He said dad also drinks, but controls himself more than mom. Student can’t remember a time when mom was not drunk often.”
The report continued:
Danny denies physical abuse by mom and dad, but says Kristen, his older sister, hides him in the attic or his room when mom is drunk. He says his dad and Kristen protect him.”
Danny denies suicidal thoughts, but feels angry, sad, has thoughts of wanting to run away. Mother is blaming his teachers for his failures and has written several accusatory letters to school. Student is afraid of both parents anger. - Washington Post
My apologies for my insensitivity.
I don't approve of bullying. I was being facetious in my original post. Danny Fitzpatrick's situation appears to be completely different from what I was talking about, although I know how 'mean' it must have come off. Again, I apologize.
That said, I was never bullied by playmates or schoolmates. My family and the nuns did that.
Like Danny Fitzpatrick, my parents were drinkers and abusive - Danny said his parents weren't abusive - but his sister hid him whenever his mother was drunk. I wonder if his surviving family members, especially a sibling still at home, is going to be honest about mom's abusive behavior? I doubt it. It took many years for me to admit it, but my older brother was abusive as well. I grew up thinking my family pretty much despised me. Suicide was never an option for me, since I was actually raised Catholic and taught about mortal sin and hell. Knowing how deficient Catholic religious education can be, I wonder if Danny was taught that.
These days, suicide is discussed openly and is becoming all too commonplace. Danny 'chose' that awful option. Something was wrong somewhere: With his religious formation, his teachers, and his family? Perhaps he suffered from some sort of unrecognized, undiagnosed clinical depression? I have no idea. If the stories are true about the parent's drinking, that in itself is often problematic. Drunk parenting is often marked by some sort of emotional neglect.
Suicide is very complex. Bullying probably contributed to it, even though Danny was able to defend himself: He states he fought back. Nevertheless, bullying played a role, but there has to be more to the story - I can't know all of the details, only what I've read in the news and documented here - so I'm simply speculating. I'm neither attempting to defend bullying or promoting it.
My ill-timed and inappropriate post not withstanding.
Prayers for Danny Fitzpatrick and all kids tempted to suicide.