The Staten Island teen who died by suicide last week after relentless bullying from his peers and alleged inaction on the part of his school may have also faced troubles in his home life, The Washington Post reports.
According to documents obtained by the newspaper, 13-year old Danny Fitzpatrick was not doing well in his academic life, engaged in angry outbursts during class and talked of his parents drinking and how that affected him.
The report from an investigator working on behalf of New York City’s Administration of Children’s Services wrote: “Danny said mom being drunk affects him in everything and makes him angry. He said dad also drinks, but controls himself more than mom. Student can’t remember a time when mom was not drunk often.”
The report continued to state that the young student denied any physical abuse by his parents and denied having suicidal thoughts but that he was afraid of his parents anger.
“Danny denies physical abuse by mom and dad, but says Kristen, his older sister, hides him in the attic or his room when mom is drunk. He says his dad and Kristen protect him,” the report said.
“Danny denies suicidal thoughts, but feels angry, sad, has thoughts of wanting to run away. Mother is blaming his teachers for his failures and has written several accusatory letters to school. Student is afraid of both parents anger.”
A lawyer acting on behalf of the Fitzpatrick family denied the accusations of mistreatment when confronted by the Post and cited that they were part of a larger scheme by Holy Angels Catholic Academy, the school Danny attended, to discredit the family following the family’s criticism of how the school administration dealt with their son’s bullies.
The lawyer, Scott Rynecki, presented the paper with a letter to Danny’s mother Maureen Fitzpatrick from the New York State Office of Children and Family Services in which the results of the previous report were declared unfounded.
Local Child Protective Services found no credible evidence “that the child(ren) has been abused or maltreated” while a NYPD spokesperson also confirmed there had been no “domestic related incidents” in the Staten Island home since January 2015.
Daniel Fitzpatrick hanged himself in the attic of his family home in Staten Island last Thursday, August 11, just days before his 14th birthday and was discovered by his 17-year-old sister Kristen.
His parents Daniel Snr. and Maureen Fitzpatrick have since spoken out against the actions, or lack thereof, of his school Holy Angels Catholic Academy in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, whom Danny had also criticized in a heartbreaking letter written just one month before his death. The teen is believed to have been bullied by five other boys and suffered a fractured finger during a fight with one of them. He was set to start in a new school in the Fall.
“Mrs. McGoldrick (school principal) didn’t do anything. 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,” Danny wrote.
“I wanted to get out. I begged and (pleaded). Eventually I did … I failed but I didn’t care. I was out. That was all (I) wanted.”
In an 18-minute video posted to Facebook, Daniel Fitzpatrick Snr also slammed the parents of those who had bullied his son, who is said to have been extremely proud of his Irish roots.
“I have no words to describe the pain I am feeling right now. The parents of those boys, you know who you are, your boys know who you are, I know who you are – now the world knows what kind of people you are and what you will be,” he said.
“To the parents of the boys who tormented my son, all I have to say is I hope you never have to feel what my family is going through right now.
“You get to hold your children every night and day for the rest of your lives, I don’t get that anymore. Your little monsters took that from me, and my wife, and his sisters.”
His father told the Daily News their family had been at odds with the school since it was suggested Danny repeat the seventh grade at another school. Daniel Snr believed the recommendation to be offensive and blamed Danny’s academic failings on the bullying he was suffering, saying it had broken his confidence.
In a statement from the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, spokesperson Carolyn Erstad said that “the principal and teachers at Holy Angels are heartbroken over the death of Daniel Fitzpatrick. I’ve spoken with them at length and can tell you that they truly cared for Danny and believe they did their best to help him.
“That said, we are examining every incident that has transpired and evaluating every aspect of school policy.”
H/T: The Washington Post