Daniel Fitzpatrick committed suicide last week, but not before the 13-year-old left a tragic suicide note that now has his parents in a fight against the school that allegedly ignored the relentless bullying against him.
The 13-year-old from Staten Island took his life on Thursday after what he said was terrible bullying from his peers at Holy Angels Catholic Academy. In the note, Fitzpatrick said that after months of reaching out for help and being ignored, he decided to take his own life.
“I gave up,” he wrote in a two-page suicide note published in the New York Daily News. “The teachers… they didn’t do anything.”
Now, the grieving parents of Daniel Fitzpatrick are determined to make sure his suicide was not in vain. They are taking his story public, even sharing the suicide note with the New York Daily News.
Daniel’s parents are also taking aim at administrators from Holy Angels Catholic Academy, saying that blame lies with the teachers and administrators who knew about the abuse but did nothing to stop it.
“My son shouldn’t have to die to be heard,” his mother, Maureen Fitzpatrick, told the New York Daily News. “There’s something wrong with the adults in authority positions when kids can’t go to them for help.”
“No parent is supposed to bury their child,” she said.
Family members said Daniel hanged himself with a belt, and that by the time his 17-year-old sister, Kristen, found him, it was too late.
There had already been conflict with Daniel’s parents and the school. The family recently received a refund for their $100 registration fee, with the school recommending that he repeat the seventh grade and that he not return to Holy Angels Catholic Academy.
But Daniel’s father, also named Daniel Fitzpatrick, said it was the bullying that led his son’s grades to slip in the first place.
“His grades went from passing to the low 40s and 60s,” he said. “His confidence was completely shattered.”
Daniel’s father said the bullying wasn’t only from students, noting that one teacher called the boy “lazy” in front of his classmates. They added that Daniel felt despondent at the lack of help from teachers.
The school issued a statement this week, mourning Daniel’s death and saying they take all reports of bullying seriously. The school noted that it would be re-examining its bullying prevention policies and training, as well.
“The principal, teachers, and staff of Holy Angels Catholic Academy are heartbroken over the loss of Danny Fitzpatrick,” school spokeswoman Carolyn Erstad said in a statement released this weekend. “We take the issue of bullying very seriously and address every incident that is brought to our attention.”
Daniel’s family members are now looking for wider support. His father posted a video on Facebook, thanking those who reached out to help and helping make sure Daniel’s plight might be able to reach others facing the same difficulties.
“To the parents of the boys that tormented my son, all I have to say is I hope you never have to feel what my family is going through right now,” he said. “You get to hold your children every night and day for the rest of your lives and their natural lives. I don’t get that anymore. Your little monsters took that from me and my wife.”
The tragic suicide of Daniel Fitzpatrick has also rallied many people together online to help the family. One family member started a GoFundMe page with the intention of raising $10,000 to help pay for the boy’s funeral expenses. But instead support from around the globe has pushed the total beyond $70,000, along with many supportive messages to the grieving family.
[Image via GoFundMe]