SOUTH GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Ahead of the new school year, one family is pushing for legislation that would keep them in the loop if their child is bullied at school.
Right now, schools can choose whether or not to tell parents and the Tarases say they were left in the dark until their son took his own life.
“I just can’t deal with all the bullying – being called gay, a-hole, being told to go kill myself.”
That was in a note Richard and Christine Taras found left behind when their 13-year-old son Jacobe took his own life in April 2015.
The bullying began on his 4th-grade bus and spilled into the hallways of Oliver Wrench Middle School.
His parents never knew until it was too late.
“Through State Police, you’re hearing about countless incidents from teachers. They never told us.”
The year Jacobe died, the school reported 86 incidents of harassment under the Dignity for all Students Act. The year after that it was also 86.
The Tarases say the school never called to tell them of any problems.
“If I’m not hearing anything from the school to red flag me, to think something is going on, you’re just thinking your child is going through adolescence,” Christine said.
Assemblyman Jim Tedisco says parent have a right to know. He called the Tarases with the idea of Jacobe’s Law that would require schools to tell parents about bullying.
“If there is a report that’s going to be made by administrator or teacher and bullying takes place in a school, within that particular day a good faith effort has to be made to contact the parents,” Assemblyman Tedisco said.
An approaching new school year, it is always hard for the Tarases.
“You’re seeing the school stuff out and you’re thinking I should be doing this, getting back to school ready and I’m not,” Christine said. “I’m not gonna have that chance again.”
In Jacobe’s name, they’re hoping to help other families whose children may also be suffering in silence
“You read the stories you see it’s happening elsewhere,” Richard said. “There are opportunities everywhere if you want to see them.”