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Did Peninsula School Officials Respond Correctly to the Bullied Student?

The video footage shows a Kopachuck Middle School student being bullied by his classmates and teacher. The Peninsula School District suspended the teacher for 10 days.

 

TELL US: Do you think the Peninsula School District responded the right way?

If not, how should the district have dealt with the teacher and the involved students?

The parents of a Gig Harbor student who was bullied at earlier this year said the  treated the situation poorly, according to The News Tribune.

The article has a short video clip taken from a cell phone that depicts the eighth-grade boy screaming while a dozen of his classmates hold him down and bury him with chairs. The teacher, John Rosi, also joins in on the hazing and fails to help the student. That student now attends a private school.

The incident, which happened back in February, prompted the Peninsula School District to suspend Rosi for 10 days and remove him from the classrooms. Rosi, who taught at the school district for 14 years, no longer works at Kopachuck Middle School, the TNT reports.

A week after the matter, Rosi stated in a letter to the district investigators that at the time of the incident, none of the children were “at risk of harm," and it was nothing more than “harmless childhood horse play."

While the school district said it took disciplinary actions, the parents said not enough was done to address the seriousness of bullying to the students.

Since then, the parents have demanded a criminal investigation, and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office is handling the case.

For the full report, read the TNT article here.

Also, .

So we ask you, Patch users, what do you think? Tell us in the comments below.

GHMom September 01, 2012 at 12:08 AM
I have been reading, with a heavy heart, all of the comments calling for the firing and criminal prosecution of Mr. Rosi and I can no longer sit by and hope that “someone else” posts a comment. My son was an 8th grader at Kopachuck last year and personally knows the boy involved. My son also viewed a raw video of the “incident” at school the day it took place. Last night, my son & I watched the video, together, as shown on King 5 News. Throughout the video, my son made comments such as “That’s him laughing”…..“Why can’t we see his face to see that he is laughing and smiling”.....”He was always jumping on kids backs and stuff at school and trying to get kids to wrestle him”. While I think Mr. Rosi displayed terrible judgment in letting that kind of “horseplay” take place in his classroom, I in no way believe he condoned, participated in or promoted bullying. Because it was NOT bullying. I agree that the video shown on TV does look like a horrific case of bullying to a casual observer. But, I don’t think this video being circulated by the media outlets is a true representation of the atmosphere or the intentions of the parties involved. I also know the boy involved and have witnessed his interactions with other kids. From my heart of hearts, I believe that he was a willing participant in what was going on in this video and routinely instigated and engaged in similar “horseplay”.
Alison Cavanaugh September 01, 2012 at 02:57 AM
GH mom, I appreciate your comment and I don't know if you can classify this as bullying or not. I am aware of how the media blows things out of proportion. It happens all the time and in all actuality, I never watch the local news, nor do I ever comment on anything here. This whole thing really bothered me because I am a mom and I am protective of my own kids. I just know that a teacher has a personal responsibility to manage the classroom. I know it has to be the hardest thing in the world. I would not have the strength or the nerve to do it. That's for sure. This is what I don't understand. Why were they holding him down and stuffing his sock in his mouth? I don't believe for one second that he was allowing that to happen. Even so, why did the teacher allow it? Maybe the kid was laughing it off as a defense mechanism. I don't really know. I just know that if you are a teacher, you know that cell phones and video are all over the place. Wouldn't you want to be more protective of yourself? I have been in millions of situations where I made a choice not to get involved with something because I didn't want it to "look bad". It's just a thought.
Alison Cavanaugh September 01, 2012 at 03:03 AM
As far as bullying goes, I was bullied quite a bit when I was younger. I had a hard time fitting in with people my age. I got into fights with other girls and was threatened all the time just because of the way I might look at someone. I really think that the public is more aware of bullying and I think the schools do what they can to keep it from happening. That said, I also think that it puts kids in a situation where they have to defend themselves and sometimes you can gain confidence from that. It is really scary with all the suicides that have happened over the last several years and kids bringing guns into schools, but at the same time if we constantly shelter our kids from regular things that go on, how can they ever learn to survive in the real world. I still think that video was ridiculous and I don't agree with the teacher's behavior at all. I never felt safe at school. Isn't school supposed to be a safe place?
GH Family September 01, 2012 at 03:56 AM
I know we are in the minority here, but feel we should comment. And before someone accuses us of being relatives, teachers, board members, or bad parents; we are citizens just like the rest of you and entitled to our own opinions... Three of our children have had Mr. John Rosi as a teacher at Kopachuck MS and loved him as a teacher. He educated, but made school fun by being playful, joking with the kids. We would sit at the dinner table laughing at their stories. NO one was being bullied or mistreated in any way and we as parents, hoped each year that our next child going into middle school would be lucky enough to get him for a teacher. He may not have made the best choice in this situation, but in our hearts, we know he meant no harm to come to this student. He is an excellent teacher and doesn't deserve this backlash from the public, most not even knowing all the facts. The video is misleading and it has been blown way out of proportion because society is currently on the "bullying" bandwagon. It really is a shame. Here's a teacher that has given so much of himself as a teacher for many years and is admired by many, and all it takes is one complaint and all his past years of making a difference in childrens' lives are erased. He will always be a great teacher in our eyes. GH Family
Alison Cavanaugh September 01, 2012 at 04:07 AM
I appreciate everyone's opinion as well. I am not part of the peninsula school district, nor do I know Mr. Rosi. I just don't understand it.
GHMom September 02, 2012 at 02:23 AM
The video & article posted today on the ABCNews website seems to indicate that the boy participated in what was going on and at one point can be heard saying "yeah, do that....do what Eric's doing, not my arm". As I stated in my previous post, my son viewed the video of the incident the day it took place & said the boy was smiling & laughing throughout the video. I am confused. If it appears that the boy was actively & willingly participating, how can it be interpreted as bullying?
Akiko Oda September 02, 2012 at 02:41 AM
Here is the ABC News story GHMom is referring to: http://abcnews.go.com/US/washington-teacher-accused-bullying-student-put-leave/story?id=17135433
charlotte September 02, 2012 at 04:15 AM
wow cant believe anyone would have the nerve to ask such a question. why sugar coat the crime, why is bullying a term that is even being used in todays world. why isnt it being called for what it truly is assault/battery. and why isnt the teacher in jail instead of being protected. if that was my child i would never allow anyone to sugar coat what was done. so dont ever use the term bullying. when you but your hands on someone in a manner that is unwelcome/hurtful/harmful/restraint-like it is a crime and should be treated as such. assault/battery people learn the true meaning of it.
GHMom September 02, 2012 at 04:37 AM
If the boy is laughing, smiling & providing instructions on what he wants done, how can it be classified as bullying, assault or battery?
Dogolo-Fenwick Laurie September 02, 2012 at 07:02 AM
I don't care who did what, or who said what. That is a crazy way to act in a classroom. I'm glad my last has just graduated from high school. My friend has kids that attended the G.H. school district and she sent hers some where else. I'm glad I live on the other side of the bridge.
GigHarborRes September 02, 2012 at 11:32 AM
There is only one person responsible for Rosi's career, like every adult, and that is person is Rosi. We adults are all responsible for our actions, and our failure to act. It is sad for him that he made a poor decision that will, with any amount of justice, bring his 20 year career to a close. We all have our burdens to bare, and that is his.
GigHarborRes September 02, 2012 at 11:43 AM
Agreed. This behavior has no learning value. No wonder our children are falling behind. This is what they are up to??? THIS is MATH class??? I am floored.
Janine September 02, 2012 at 07:25 PM
I find it very sad that the majority of people commenting are not interested in the truth only what the media is reporting which is far from the truth. At some point in your life you will be judged the way you have judged others. The punishment has been given to this teacher for his lack of judgment concerning this incident. Those who do not have all the facts should refrain from commenting. "It is precisely the purpose of the public opinion generated by the press to make the public incapable of judging, to insinuate into it the attitude of someone irresponsible, uninformed" (Walter Benjamin quote).
Janine September 02, 2012 at 07:29 PM
GHMom ~ we are the minority of objective people here unfortunately. Some people are not interested in the truth.
Annie Flanders September 02, 2012 at 08:07 PM
that's what the court system is for -- to learn the truth. i hope the parents sue the pants and socks off of not only the school system but the evil teacher. he deserves to have his career ruined for his stupid mistakes. IMHO, if a child has socks stuffed in his mouth, how is he supposed to be laughing about this situation? did anyone think about that? it's a shame that you and GHmom feel you are in the minority here. ONLY the court system will ferret out the truth. neither your opinion nor the opinion of any of us who post here REALLY know what the truth is. i've read what the parents and former students have stated about how horrible this school is and how the administrators don't care if students are mentally or physically abused. i feel their opinions about peninsula school district hold a lot of weight here. by saying that people 'are not interested in the truth' is very sad, considering what these people have said. ostriches need to do something different other than keep their heads in the sand.
Janine September 02, 2012 at 08:12 PM
I have had many children attend school in Gig Harbor, as I did myself. You get what give out of public education. As a district it is better than most. If a child looks for trouble he/she will find it. Parental involvement throughout a child’s life is a key element to their success. Even with strong parental support children can make poor choices. The important thing is that we, as responsible parents, teach our children how to learn from their mistakes and move on. If we fail to teach our children that there are all kinds of consequences in life for our choices, we are not giving them the tools they need to be productive, contributing members of society. When you see this type of sensationalized “news” ask yourself ~ who stands to gain? What is their motive? Look at their character; examine their life style, finances etc to determine if they are accurately reporting the events or if they are interested in promoting their own agenda.. We need to be proactive not reactive. Examine all the evidence, look at all sides logically and make educated decisions. The media has no responsibility to report the truth as long as it raises public attention, increases ratings or sells news papers the media will continue to report a fraction of the truth and create chaos for individuals. Why do we allow this? There are too many people today looking for opportunities to gain personally, by exploiting others. This does not help our community or society as a whole.
Nancy Elizabeth Rimel September 03, 2012 at 03:42 PM
I was horrified by the video. Most disturbed at the end when the boy who was attacked seemed to confront his teacher and was then attacked by the teacher and encouraged to do so by the students. "What goes on in my classroom stays in my classroom." Mr Rosi was quoted saying Trib). Why were the students afraid Mr Rosi would be "let go." I ask: what has happened in this classroom previously? Why is Mr Rosi telling students not to tell...or they will be in trouble. This is typical behavior of an abusive adult and predator. They make the abused feel responsible and afraid to tell the truth. A full investigation needs to be conducted and should have occurred immediately after the event. PSD: what happened? And even more important do the students involved really understand that their behavior is completely unacceptable and abusive? By nature of the position, a teacher best teaches by example. Shame on Mr Rosi.
Gig Harbor Mama September 03, 2012 at 04:03 PM
We pulled our son from there last year for being bullied. He went to the counselors but had no success at stopping the issue. They have an anti-bullying campaign at the school, but two of the boys doing the bullying were, ironically, active leaders in that "club". We really like the principal, VP, and many of the teachers there, but they seemed incapable of controlling the bullying that was really hurting our son emotionally and physically. I am sure that the teacher in question had NO intention of hurting a child, but in my opinion, he should have known better. It is a teacher's job to educate and guide, not to be FRIENDS and to be LIKED by the students. Children need to be able to trust that every aspect of their school is a safe place to grow and learn. Unfortunately, in this day and age, far too many schools are not safe places. I wish I could confidently say that this incident is isolated, or that things don't happen like this at other schools ~ but I think we all know better. I hope that all the parents of the children captured in video participating in this mob-mentality deal with their children appropriately. I hope that this incident inspires long conversations with teachers, staff, administration, parents, and children. We should maximize the good that we can get from this terrible event. Hooray for the boy's parents for coming out publicly. Perhaps we should have too. It is only through transparency that we can see the answer to this problem.
Annie Flanders September 03, 2012 at 09:51 PM
this whole thing has now gone viral on the internet -- so if mr rosi thinks he's going to get a free ride on all of this -- guess again. despite what two people have posted here -- the incident is NOT what they described -- other newspapers around the country have picked up the story -- and apparently he got the other kids to bully the young boy afterwards to recant what happened -- which is one of the many reasons why the child no longer goes to that school. the media has decided mr rosi's fate - and he's going to have live for the rest of his life with the media decision.
Annie Flanders September 03, 2012 at 09:53 PM
and yes,nancy, mr rosi's actions ARE indicative of an abusive adult predator.
Annie Flanders September 03, 2012 at 09:59 PM
i agree GH mama -- the parents should be applauded for going public about this. maybe this will encourage the parents of other children who are or have been bullied at that school to come forward.
Carol MacHale September 04, 2012 at 03:34 AM
Annie and GH Mama - Yes, abuse of any kind should never be swept under the rug if we are to get it stopped. The incident continues to sicken and anger me. I have watched all the videos online. They have NOT been edited. As a longtime teacher in another district, it is disturbing that PSD, like most school districts, would do so little to stop abuse. Apparently they, like other districts, prefer to take the easy road which is to ignore problems, until they reach the MEDIA (thank you Media!) and are publicly exposed. Now they are having to pay, using taxpayer funds, for theirs laziness and lack of moral turpitude. My heart goes out to the boy and his family.
GHS Mother of three September 04, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Janine, Your comments and questions are to be commended! We don't know the whole story. This was Kopatime (what is often known as home room) and mr rosi made a bad call. My student attends and told me all about the incident. The boy student was also instigating the horse play (dishing it out). It should have been stopped being that nowadays bullying is rampant and goes too far. Mr Rosi should have been extremely careful and he made a mistake in going alone with the play. My student Enjoyed mr Rosie's approach and is very saddened by all this. She knows no one is perfect and believes Mr Rosi has a passion for kids and strives to overcome differences and he was one of the only teachers she had for two years that helped kids deal with teasing and bullying. He remembered your name and helped everyone be part of a team/school. The video does not accurately portray all that occurred that day but a 10 day suspension for investigation and counsel was appropriate.
Janine September 06, 2012 at 04:41 PM
‘Helicopter’ Parents and the Dangers of Rescuing Article By Meghan Vivo Children who have “helicopter” parents may be shielded from important lessons well into adulthood. Helicopter parents focuse intently on protecting their child from harm, disappointment and unhappiness that they keep them from experiencing the consequences of their actions. Since these teens expect to be rescued, they never become self-reliant but become skilled at manipulating their parents to do even more for them. It is common for teens to act out and rebel in an effort to escape their parents’ persistent over-involvement. They struggle to take care of themselves, move out, find a job, and a place to live. When dating, they expect their partner to take care of them they may be attracted to people who are controlling and abusive because they don’t know how to do things for themselves. This can lead to adopting a victim mentality and lack of ability to cope with the usual challenges life brings. To read full article ~ http://coppercanyonacademy.crchealth.com/helicopter-parents/ http://www.usatoday.com/money/jobcenter/workplace/bruzzese/story/2012-08-26/helicopter-parents-hurt-generation-of-workers/57292900/1
GHTransplant September 07, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Janine - I have been reading through this thread and I wanted to say how much I appreciate your thoughtful posts. As appalling as the video clip is to watch, we do need to remember that the media rarely shows both sides of the story and in fact the tone of the reporter in front of Harbor Ridge is clearly biased. Bullying is harassing, intimidating, behavior that happens persistently. Absent any new information, I believe what happened to the student at Kopachuck was an isolated incident. It is important to make this distinction because bullying means that the student has been harassed persistently over a period of time and an incident happens only once. If this is an incident, I think that Mr. Rosi can certainly learn from this and continue to be a great teacher. If this is bullying, then this is more than a lapse in judgement and his ability to teach students in a healthy learning environment should certainly be questioned. My child attends KMS and Mr. Rosi was one of her favorite teachers. She was heartbroken when she found out what had happened and said that Mr. Rosi was a teacher who was very consistent about preventing bullying in his class and cared very deeply about his students. This does not mean I am AGAINST the student in the video. My heart goes out to him and I hope that our tight-knit community will support him and not blame him for Mr. Rosi's poor judgement. Teachers must model good behavior for our students.
Annie Flanders September 09, 2012 at 01:01 PM
for GH transplant - how many people who have had their children bullied at that school have to post here before you understand that this is NOT an isolated incident for that school -- in fact it happens quite frequently. i do hope that the parents sue the school and the evil teacher -- he deserves to not only have his teaching credentials pulled but he should not be allowed to EVER get near any students.
James Freeman September 09, 2012 at 08:50 PM
My kids are all grown now, but after reading through all the comments I can only say one thing: Thank God my girls went to school in Seattle and not in some small town.
Harborite September 10, 2012 at 03:42 PM
I also appreciate Janine's comments. We have wonderful schools, teachers and families living here in Gig Harbor and it sounds like the matter was heard and taken care of correctly until a lawyer got involved.
crystal cannon October 25, 2012 at 03:54 PM
I say sue the crap out of the school district, the teacher, and the PUNK kids (and their parents) who bullied this poor boy!!! What's more, I feel the teacher should be jailed for child abuse and the abusive kids put in DJJ, where they would surely get a little dose of what they gave that poor boy. I especially detest that pinchy assed girl with the long hair who was giggling and saying "oh my God, that's ssoooo funny". Honey, if I could get my hands on you, you would be praying to that same God that I not mess up your UGLY face more than it already is!!!!!
crystal cannon October 25, 2012 at 04:20 PM
GHS Mother of Three!!! I'll bet you would be singing a different tune if it was one of your precious kids who this happened to. Have you ever been very embarrassed about something that was happening to you but you laughed with everyone else and tried to play it off? That is what this child was doing but anyone with any sense can see that he was being tramatized!!!! Shame on you people who think it was just as much his fault!!! I also noticed that most of the kids are alot bigger than him, as in, GO PICK ON SOMEONE YOUR OWN SIZE!!!!!!

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