.

Parents of Bullied Student Speak Out at School Board Meeting

Randall and Karla Kinney said they don't think John Rosi should be allowed back in the classroom. They also said they taught their son to put on a strong face to deal with bullying at school.

The parents of spoke at the Peninsula School Board meeting Thursday night.

“I do not agree that Mr. Rosi should be allowed back in the classroom in light of his inability to recognize this not just as simple classroom mismanagement but endangerment of a child,” said Randall Kinney, who attended the meeting with his wife Karla.

Last week, the couple released a cell phone video that caught attention of local and national news organizations. The video shows their then eighth-grader being held down and harassed by his classmates and Rosi.

The Kinneys said it took them two weeks to view the video.

“We were not informed by the school that what happened to [our son] in Mr. Rosi’s class was bullying. We learned through text messages and calls from concerned parents who saw the videos,” Randall Kinney said.

However, acting Superintendent Chuck Cuzzetto said the incident was never reported or characterized by any involved students, parents or staff as harassment, intimidation or bullying complaint.

Prior to taking public comments at the meeting, Cuzzetto and the school board briefed the attendees on the timeline of the incident and the disciplinary actions taken by the District.

---

Here’s the timeline of events:

Thursday, Feb. 2: A group of students were watching cell phone videos of the incident. Those students were immediately sent to Principal Iva Scott’s office at The principal downloaded the videos to her computer and had the students erase the videos on their phones. Principal Scott contacted Academic Officer Dan Gregory, who informed then-Superintendent Terry Bouck. Rosi was placed on immediate administrative leave. Principal Scott also contacted Karla Kinney to set up a meeting the following day.

Friday, Feb. 3: Karla Kinney canceled the meeting. The district contacted an outside investigator.

Monday, Feb. 6: Karla Kinney met with Principal Scott about the incident. On the same day, the principals at Kopachuck Middle School visited the classrooms to talk to the students about acceptable behavior in classrooms. There were no discussions on placing blame on the incident.

Thursday, Feb. 9: The principal sent a letter home to all parents of the classroom notifying the incident. The outside investigation started.

Thursday, April 26: Based on the final recommendations by the legal counsel, Rosi was placed on a 10-day suspension without pay and signed a Last Chance Agreement, which removed him from Kopachuck until the end of the 2013 school year. It also required Rosi to complete a classroom-management training. If Rosi engaged in any future misconduct related to supervision of students before Aug. 31, 2013, the District could terminate his contract.

Summer of 2012: Rosi was transferred to teach math at for the 2012-2013 school year.

Thursday, Aug. 30: Rosi was placed on pending outcome of the investigation.

---

One parent, who also teaches at , was one of the two speakers at the meeting. She said her daughter had Rosi as a teacher at Kopachuck.

“As a parent, I’m very upset to hear about this almost half a year after the incident happened,” she said.

After the story came out in the news, she said she talked to her daughter about having Rosi as a teacher.

“She said things about girls throwing shoes at [Rosi], and him running around the school chasing students; students taping him to a chair and pushing him out in the commons and other teachers coming and taping his mouth shut with duct tape,” she said.

“As a parent, the fact that that’s going on at the middle school is upsetting to me. That it’s not just about him in the classrooms, but what kind of climate do we have in the middle school where that’s apparently okay to have going on?” she said.

As a teacher, she said she was let down not only by Rosi, but by the rest of the staff at Kopachuck Middle School.

“I’m not only responsible for the kids in my classroom. I’m responsible for everybody’s kids. If I hear something that doesn’t make sense to me, it’s something that we have to do something about,” she said.

“There has been a great deal of public commentary regarding this matter,” said School Board President Jill Uddenberg. “I ask that we refrain from rushing to judgment and taking sides. As with any disciplinary investigation, the employee in question is entitled to a fair and objective investigation prior to the recommended action. The is also fully cooperating with the Sheriff’s investigation and awaiting the outcome.”

While Rosi did not attend the school board meeting, his lawyer Bryan Hershman did issue a request for supporters to speak up in favor of Rosi this week.

“Over the past week, Mr Rosi’s name has been smeared in the press, both locally and nationally… Those of us who are familiar with Mr. Rosi, know that this video in no way typifies the outstanding teacher and coach we have come to know and respect. Moreover, based on my initial investigation, those who witnessed this event know that this video is being taken out of context,” wrote Hershman.

At the time of the incident, Rosi stated that he did not mean to harm his students and had perceived the incident as “horseplay”.

In addition, defended Rosi by claiming that the teen instigated the incident. ABC News also reported that the child could be heard saying in the video, "Yeah do that … do what Eric's doing, not my arm."

However, Randall Kinney said his son was doing what he was taught by his father.

“Many will judge by that video what has happened to our family. It characterizes his lack of reaction as endorsement for the activities that were done to him,” he said.

When the Kinneys learned about their son experiencing bullying at school, Randall Kinney said he coached his son on how to react to bullying and how to prevent it by not being a target—an advice he regrets today.

“What a bully wants is a reaction from a child,” he recalled telling his son. “Put on a strong face, son. No matter how hard it hurts, don’t cry or you’ll only magnify the situation.”

“If they hit you, smile and walk away. Cry in private,” he added. “And that was terrible advice.”

In the meantime, Uddenberg said the District is organizing parent-family meetings at the three schools impacted by the incident: Kopachuck, Peninsula and Harbor Ridge.

Randall Kinney said his son, who now attends a private school, is doing better thanks to the strength of his mother and the professional counsel.

“We are fortunate to have a wonderful doctor tending to his care and guiding us as parents,” he said.

Lynnelle Pugmire September 07, 2012 at 06:26 AM
I have to just say, that I had no idea who the family involved were till I read this article. I do know them and they are an amazing strong and solid family in many, many ways. Good luck to the Kinney's. I know this must be such a difficult time for their family. There are many who support you and care about your family. It is a sad situation all around. When we are given professional roles as an adult, the standard to do the right thing is always very, very high. There are many temptations to bend a little. I was always taught at a company I worked for (9 years) that someone is always watching. I told my employees that there may be secret cameras in the store. That was told to me by loss prevention. I like that idea, because it keeps you thinking twice when there may be a temptation to behave inappropriately. I hope as a community we can all work together for the good of our community, students, parents and professionals. Let's get it together and move on. We are NOT a small community anymore and technology's inventions are amazing, but at the same time can be a monster. We can teach sensitivity all we want, but most kids don't get it. It needs to be modeled by all the adults in their lives every, single day. Thanks for letting me share my Personal Opinion here.
Bill Brewster September 07, 2012 at 06:47 AM
Nice article. I am looking forward to the parent-family meetings which means I get to bring my kids right? I just signed a paper for my son's class that said he wouldn't horseplay in class. I'm sure he won't be doing that. There is a time and a place for horseplay and if the investigations lead to tell us that the Kinney's son was indeed bullied that day in school there will be a time and a place for those who took part to come forward and admit it. That is one secret that I wouldn't want to hang on to for very long.
Patty Kennedy September 07, 2012 at 04:29 PM
"If the parents had not gotten involved, all would be fine" is indeed a chilling commentary on the Peninsula School District.
Lori Colbo September 07, 2012 at 05:25 PM
I hope that Mr. Kinney will not be hard on himself. I had a son that was bullied through most of his school career. I was at a loss most of that time as to how to advise my son. I got counseling for him and myself and my son and I informed the principles when we could. They took appropriate action when they could, but there were times when the principles got weary of it and we were told "We can't babysit your child or the bullies" That didn't go over well with me and my son, so I never backed down. The GHHS teacher's report that her daughter witnessed a lot of horseplay and other stupid behavior by Mr. Rosi and staff at Kopachuck is a sad commentary. School should not be a three ring circus. Horseplay should be for home, not school, especially by staff. Where is the good example? When I volunteered at Evergreen it never occurred to me, or the teachers to encourage, tolerate, or join in the fray of bullying or horseplay. When you do such a thing, you have lost control of the classroom, and sent a terrible message to the kids that this is acceptable behavior. School is a place to be educated on academics and proper behavior in the school environment. Of course discipline begins in the home but when our children are at school, the school staff has to address behavior problems and conflicts that arise on their watch. They have to protect our children while in school and provide a healthy and safe environment, and foster trust between students and staff.
Janine September 07, 2012 at 08:57 PM
The sad reality is that all this media is not helping anyone especially the child. Mr R was this boys teacher, wrestling coach, and a positive adult in this young boys life for several years. These parants are only making matters worse by placing their son him in the center of this controversy. they need to think about how all this media attention is affecting their son and his standing in the community. I understand the parents are upset and concerned about their son, but persecuting Mr. Rosi in the media is uncalled for! In the last interview they indicated that their son may have some special needs, as a parent of children that do have special needs; it is very important to teach them what is and is not appropriate behavior. Regardless of their issues, if an individual behaves in an inappropriate way ~ they will receive negative attention. This is a life lesson which is necessary for them to be success in the real world. As parents we cannot always protect our children from the consiquences of their choices. I have worked with troubled youth, I am a strong advocate for children, and more importantly I am a parent. In this case the teacher is not responsible for what happened between the boy and other students after he was placed on leave. Punishing Mr Rosi as a scape goat, will not change what did or did not happen last February. I do not understand how involving the media or suing is going to fix anything.
holly blash September 07, 2012 at 11:56 PM
I have read many comments/ heard witnesses and students and it sounds that perhaps we need to look at when the boy was really effected (" boy did not seem effected" until texts , calls from peers came in "why did you get him in trouble" (which he didn't). Was his parents reaction somehow complicating things? This is not to say that that he was not, because clearly something egregious went on. Perhaps this needn't have occurred as it did if we look at the parent's statements regarding teaching "tough it out". The child may have been able recognize it sooner and spoken up - we still don't know if he felt bullied. The teacher was negligent and, at best, guilty by omission. And seems to have gotten far afield of proper teacher-student decorum. He has accepted this, opted for intervention training and been put on notice (i.e. one more incident and you're out) One incidence of bullying is bad and should be stopped and addressed but since when do we crucify for one incident and seek to destroy a body of work, career along with family & home for what is still perceived (assumed?) to be "bullying"? I don't question the horrificness for all involved, but can't we take a minute to acknowledge mistakes were made and lessons have definitely been learned - now the main parties involved are suffering mightily - isn't it enough and isn't it time to practice some forgiveness? How can we all, and especially the two main parties, move forward causing the least amount of damage?
Jane Allen September 08, 2012 at 01:22 AM
The boy had routinely punched and jumped on other students (and Mr. Rosi) throughout the year and this was not considered bullying? But when the same treatment happens to him, it is? ABC noticed the kid was also egging the other kids on during the bullying "Yeah, do that like so and so's doing" and laughing. But now his father is claiming this was a technique he was taught to use against so called "bullies?" I'm sure the lawyer is just over the moon about this. No judgements should be made until we can all watch the video in it's entirety. And why is this kid not being called out for his former actions?
Rick Owens September 08, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Wow... as I read some of the responses I shake my head in disgust. Is this what we have become as a society... do we really think it's okay (even as a joke) to have teachers engaging in this type of behavior? Do we have to wonder why there are so many problems with our youth these days? The lack of respect for our elders... no the the presence of God in our society, is very apparent. We had better wake up as a nation and get involved if we expect anyhting to change!!
Forrest Adams September 08, 2012 at 04:26 AM
If a staff member had been treated like this, assoult charges would have been filed, and a complete police investigation would have ensued!!!
Janine September 08, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Forrest, Sorry to state the obvious but… if a staff member participated we would not be discussing this because his parents would not be trying to sue the district, bring charges against anyone, or have contacted the media.
Forrest Adams September 08, 2012 at 04:45 AM
I'm talking about the act it's self, and not the parents!!! But then again the staff member would bring charges them selves, unless they were worried about union retaliation!!
Carolyn Valentine September 09, 2012 at 01:10 AM
I am really appalled -- about the incident and the fact that everyone kept a tight lip about the incident and that the school system thought a 20 day suspension was sufficient disciplinary action against the middle school teacher who participated in and encouraged the melee. It was more than bullying, the teacher clearly enjoyed his part in it too much. Evidently the parents who received notices from the school principal did not think it was much of a big deal. The children were given a talk about classroom behavior and "no blame assigned" on the incident. I think more needed to be done. Unless the parents and school officials are counting on those children living in a closed society and not venturing to interact with other people in the state or country, more really needs to be done. The class was done a disservice by the administrators and the assistant superintendent needs a class on classroom management himself and proper class room behavior, perhaps a course on what bullying actually entails.
Ron Johnson September 09, 2012 at 04:45 PM
They should string Rossi up by the balls.
Ann Adams December 09, 2012 at 07:48 AM
Your response is concerning.
Ann Adams December 09, 2012 at 07:51 AM
Chair piling, kicking, passing wind on a child....none of this is concerning or should have disturbed the child? I would not want any child in that situation.
Ann Adams December 09, 2012 at 07:55 AM
Your statement is concerning-again.
C December 12, 2012 at 06:39 AM
Peninsula School District has repeatedly allowed children to be harmed by adults in the District, leaving parents no recourse. The usual response the District gives while they do nothing to protect our children is something along the lines of, we can't move that person to a different position because it violates our Union Contracts. So, yes, in my opinion, getting the media involved is essential if you want to resolve the situation.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something