The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

June 4, 2014

Bullying behind threats, boy says

SHARPSVILLE — A Sharpsville High School freshman arrested for threatening to shoot people at school told police he was bullied into it.

Police charged the boy in May with making terroristic threats, disorderly conduct and harassment. The three boys accused of bullying him were charged with disorderly conduct and harassment.

According to police, the incident was investigated after several students reported statements they said the 14-year-old boy made to them.

Students told police he said three of his classmates had flicked him in the chest area and poked him in his ribs many times.

They said he told them it frustrated him and stressed him out, which is why he was bringing a gun to school to shoot people on a list he made up in his head, police said.

According to the police report, the school received several calls from parents after they found out about the incident, concerned for safety of the students inside the school buildings.

“In my opinion, I do not believe that the student ever had any malice toward any student in the district,” Superintendent Brad Ferko said. “It was said out of frustration and I believe that once the student had thought about what he’d said, he was very remorseful.”

He said the school board formed a bullying committee in January made up of school directors, parents, administrators and students.

The goal of the committee is to focus on positives, including character development and how to stick up for each other.

“Instead of telling kids, ‘You need to be tougher, you need to have thicker skin,’ we need to let the student know we hear them and we are taking their concerns to heart,” Ferko said. “We need to take the power from the bully.”

Ferko refused to comment on any disciplinary action taken against the four boys.

He said the school wants someone who is being bullied to know he or she has support so their feelings will not escalate to the level of frustration that the boy accused of threatening violence reached.

“We have great kids at Sharpsville and we need to celebrate that,” Ferko said. “And know they are not alone in this.”

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