A Staten Island family is grieving after their 13-year-old son committed suicide—he had left behind a handwritten letter describing his bullying experiences at school.
Danny Fitzpatrick, 13, was a student at Holy Angels Catholic Academy in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. He was found with a belt wrapped around his neck by an older sister in the attic of the family’s home late on Aug. 11. He had hung himself, according to the New York Daily News.
In a letter written by Danny, and shared exclusively with the New York Daily News, Danny says that he was “constantly” bullied by other kids at school, and teachers did nothing to help.
“I gave up the teachers either they didn’t do ANYTHING,” Danny wrote.
“I told all the teachers. Nothing except one Ms. D’Alora. She was the nicest teacher ever. She understood and did something. But it didn’t last long.” he added.
The family says that the letter was written in early July, but was never sent.
Danny’s family also affirmed the harsh school environment the teen alluded to in his letter in interviews with the Daily News on Aug. 12. Kirsten, the youngest of Danny’s three older sisters, also attended Holy Angels and said that teachers would humiliate students by publicly displaying the test papers of students who did poorly.
“Danny said that he was afraid of his teachers,” said Maureen Fitzpatrick, Danny’s mom. “He felt like the whole school knew what was going on and was laughing behind his back. They humiliated him.”
She added that the school had avoided the issue in order to “protect their image.”
In a Facebook video shared on Aug. 13, Danny’s father, Daniel Fitzpatrick, lamented the loss of his son, saying that Danny “was a kind, gentle little soul” and “didn’t have a mean bone in his body.”
“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,” he said.
The school however, denies that the boy was neglected.
“Daniel’s complaints about bullying did not fall upon deaf ears,” said Brooklyn Archdiocese spokeswoman Carolyn Erstad to reporters. “The principal believes she did everything in her power to help Daniel, and to deal with any students accused of bullying.”
The Fitzpatrick family has set up a GoFundMe page to give Danny a “proper memorial to shine a bright light,” but also plans to shed light on the bullying and suicide epidemics as a whole.
“With all these responses and support we would love nothing more than to donate to a organization that fights bullying and encourages suicide awareness. We have not chosen any yet, seeing as we are still dealing with preperations for my brother. We have every intention to help other families never go through what we are going through,” reads a part of the page description.
The NYPD confirmed they are investigating.