Guest blog from "Danny's Mom" concerning the tragic loss of her 13-year-old son to bullying.
OSHA reports that not some, not a few but "many" episodes of workplace violence, including harassment by bullying, go unreported each year. Underlying causes may be a lack of trust in anti-bullying systems and protocols in the past. In other words, a worker experiencing bullying may note that while policies and procedures look good on paper, it is another story altogether in terms of properly enforcing anti-bullying protocols.
If adult workers do not feel their complaints are being heard, imagine being a bullied kid. The dangers bullying cause to developing minds, bodies, and spirits can be enormous. In some situations, it can be catastrophic. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Americans who have experienced violence which includes bullying are at a higher risk of suicide. Death by suicide is a national health problem according to the CDC, a matter which Maureen Fitzpatrick unfortunately knows all too well.
Here is Maureen's first person account about her beloved son Danny. We are proud Maureen entrusted us with it. Maureen hopes it will help prevent another child, mother, father, sibling, grandparent or friend from having to walk the shoes Danny and his family have.
Kathleen M. Bonczyk
Founder and Executive Director
They Didn't do ANYTHING
by Maureen Fitzpatrick
PART I OF A MULTI-PART SERIES
My name is Maureen Fitzpatrick. I am Daniel Joseph Fitzpatrick's mother.
I have been his voice here on earth since August 11, 2016, the day my son died by suicide due to relentless bullying.
Daniel Joseph Fitzpatrick hard at work, attempting to prepare himself for a future he never had.
"Danny" as we called our son was a shy, kind, compassionate boy who was the kind of human being who was everyone's friend without judgment. he was the kind of friend we all wish we had. He was a very loving son. Danny was my best friend.
Danny was just 13 years old when we lost him. That August 11th, I received a phone call that shattered my life, and the lives of Danny's three sisters and father forever.
Danny and his loving mother, Maureen.
The Call No Parent Ever Wants to Receive
I was on my way home from work when my phone rang. My daughter, Kristen, screamed "Danny's dead, Danny's dead!!!"
At the time, I was trapped on the Staten Island Ferry, helpless to immediately get home. I yelled and tried calling 911. I was so distressed I couldn't get a signal on my cell phone. A fellow passenger saw how distressed I was and asked if she could get a cop for me. I nodded yes.
I told the officer what happened. He took me to the Captain's Cabin so I could call my home. My daughter explained they were putting Danny in an ambulance. Learning Danny was in an ambulance gave me hope he was still alive. But Kristen was so traumatized from finding her brother, she didn't realize that Danny had been placed in a body bag.
I was unsure of what was happening and in a complete state of shock. I soon learned the awful truth. Danny was dead. The days that followed were a blur.
What Happened to Danny, according to Danny.
Over time, Danny went from being a happy boy to a round-shouldered kid afraid to make eye contact. He had frequent nightmares and came into our room to sleep so he could feel safe.
I found a letter that Danny had written. I showed my son's letter to a reporter. When I woke up the next day, I learned Danny's letter had gone viral, all over the world.
Danny's words said that Danny took his life because he was bullied by kids and adults alike at school. Danny had been physically attacked, emotionally attacked and also mentally attacked by a group of five boys, his words told us. His words also told us that no one helped him.
The last time my son was attacked occurred on school grounds. I took Danny to his pediatrician on an emergency visit. Then I went straight to the 68th precinct to report it. However, no investigation was done. No arrests made despite the fact my son had sustained a fractured finger.
Here is a letter written by Danny, which I found found after his death:
Please stay tuned for Part II of this multipart series to be published on this blog next week.
In the interim, the following video focuses on bullying of children in the workplace:
The CDC's position on bullying as a form of violence and a contributing factor to suicide may be accessed here:
Read more articles about Danny here: