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Mom to School Board: Son Was Brutally Attacked

Parents plead for help with bullying claims against their son.

The parents of a Jefferson Township High School freshman came before the Board of Education to plead for help after, they said, their son was “brutally attacked” by another student.

They said they plan to file a tort claim notice against the school district later this week. But school officials said that they have addressed the issue and taken what they believe to be appropriate action.

“My son was attacked and beaten up on April 19,” a tearful Elaine Attanasio told the board. “I’ve begged for help since October, and no one has helped me.”

Elaine and Michael Attanasio told the board that doctors have said their son Christian suffered a concussion and possible permanent damage to his left eye as a result of the incident, which allegedly started in a classroom and spilled into the hallway during the school day.

In a letter that the Attanasios wrote to Board of Education members and shared with Patch, they claim that their son was given no medical attention after the incident. The letter reads, in part:

"I CAN NOT believe no medical attention was given to my son! I am outraged, that the school did not notify me. Just how long were they going to wait?! My son was delusional, hysterical, and bleeding, sitting in the office which is all windows, as a spectacle for all to see!!! He was completely embarrassed, and should have been at the VERY LEAST kept in the nurse’s office. Even if the nurse didn’t see fit to call an ambulance after assessing all of his injuries (which in and of itself, is hard to believe), the administrator in charge should have after she took one look at my son."

Attanasio also said she was dissatisfied with the Harrassment, Intimidation and Bullying Incidences (HIB) report that was presented at Monday's meeting, which reported that no incidents had occurred at the high school for April.

“I filed a HIB form,” she said. “How could they say there were no incidents?”

Schools superintendent Joseph Kraemer said that the reason that the incident did not appear on the report was because the full report pertaining to the incident in question had not been completed yet, and that it would be present on the next HIB report.

“Mrs. Attanasio is inaccurate in her statement that we haven’t done anything,” Kraemer said. “We have identified the parties and taken the appropriate action.”

Citing confidentiality issues, Kraemer declined to comment specifically on the incident in question, but said that an action plan after an alleged bullying incident could include supervision in the hallways, counseling, an aide on the bus or a possible change of schedule. The district’s policy on harassment, intimidation and bullying can be found on its web site.

Attanasio said she is dissatisfied with the board’s response to her plea, which she said also includes a request for disciplinary action against vice principal Noreen Risko, who, she believes, did not adequately address the incident.

Attanasio's letter called for further action:

"I firmly believe Noreen Risko needs disciplinary action taken against her. Acting as an administrator, she had the responsibility to act on any harassment, intimidation, or bullying incident that was reported to her even if no HIB was submitted. An investigation should have been done."

Barbara Silvestri May 15, 2012 at 11:37 AM
Easier for people to think it will go away, don't make a big deal out of it... One of our biggest sins! Results of childhood bullying does not leave the child once they are adults. Our indirect acceptance by ignoring is disgusting!
Michelle Schaller May 15, 2012 at 12:33 PM
My child was also bullied 2.5 years @ JTHS and we had to hire an attorney. They don't need strickter rules, the admin needs to follow current rules and fight the right battles. I have a Junior and a Senior and its amazing what they get in trouble for and then when something serious happens the HS doesn't do right by the child hurt.
Alyson Music May 15, 2012 at 12:52 PM
This HIB Law is a joke! It is designed to intimidate and bully children, not stop bullying. I don't know the history with these 2 boys, BUT if any child lays his hands on another to cause such a horrific injury, I believe DYFS should be involved, a psych evaluation performed, mandatory counseling, and that they be removed from school and tutored at home. They are not taking any steps to protect the rest of the student population. If 1 child can cause this much damage to another, something is very wrong with this child. Something is very wrong with adminstration for not recognizing this and acting. Shame on you! You are letting both these children down!
Glenn Primo May 15, 2012 at 03:13 PM
3 words, Martial Arts Training
Danna Carlbon May 15, 2012 at 03:44 PM
DYFS has an office specifically for these kind of incidences, the NJ Institutional Abuse Unit. This needs to be reported.
Paulie C May 15, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Glenn #22
Stop the madness May 15, 2012 at 10:43 PM
http://patch.com/N-d4mc
Stop the madness May 16, 2012 at 01:13 AM
If you took the time to read this article, read the one posted above this comment as well
The Truth May 16, 2012 at 02:37 PM
but...he was never bullied
Lisa Imperante May 16, 2012 at 03:43 PM
I think that the system obviously does not work. Children are being bullied and hurt. Often after the physical wounds heal, there ia a need for counseling to deal with shame and embarrassment. The physiological effects can last a lifetime. No one deserves to be injured while trying to receive an education. Zero tolerance should mean that an incident of this or even lessor magnitude should result in the offending child be removed permanently from the school environment. They need counseling, possibly intervention into the home environment. To cause such severe injury to a classmate goes well beyond schoolyard teasing, or childhoods scuffles. The violence will continue, a suspension does not address the issue and other students in the school continue to be in danger.
Jeanette Pidgeon May 16, 2012 at 04:30 PM
If we as parents do not like the way The Jefferson Township School System conducts business then we ALL need to stand together and force a change! Become aware of each others concerns. Stand together when we each face opposition from JTBOE. Bottom line is that we as parents vote on who sits in Board of Education positions. WE HAVE CHOICES! Be educated in YOUR rights and responsibilities as a parent of a JT student. Most parents read the policies that are provided in our childrens student handbooks. LOOK FURTHER! Read the Governance Manual at jefftwp.org. You will be surprised to find that there are SO MANY contradictions between what is written as a policy or regulation and what is actual standard operating procedure in our schools. If you are unhappy with a situation go up the chain of command. The education system does NOT stop with the Jefferson Township Board of Education. Our children attend a public school system governed by more than just municipal government. Our township educators answer to county,state, and federal administration. Our first priority as parents, educators and public administration should be to protect our children. Why has our education system broken down so drastically that we are even having these discussions? It is time to stand together and fix what is seriously broken!!!
Tell the Truth May 16, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Tell the Truth http://patch.com/N-d43L
Lucy Hirleman May 17, 2012 at 06:48 PM
OK, I read both articles and came away with this..."tiny, meaningless altercation" according to the student and "concussion with possible permanent damage to an eye" according to the mother which may or may not be verified by a physician. One or both are either grossly exaggerating or lying. I'll wait for the final report.
anonymous May 18, 2012 at 05:02 PM
hmmm
anonymous May 18, 2012 at 05:02 PM
that is what I have heard as well
Louis C. Hochman May 19, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Hi, all. I'm a regional editor with Patch. We've removed certain comments from this post and elsewhere on the site. While we understand people have strong opinions about this topic, and want them to feel free to express themselves, we won't allow any posts with profanity or personal attacks among our site users. Please make sure to keep the discussion civil and respectful. You can disagree with someone; you don't need to insult him or her to do so. We also won't knowingly allow posts that make statements about the involved parties that can't be verified, that may not be relevant, or that would unduly expose the privacy of those discussed here, in particular minors. So if you've heard a rumor, if you've got an impression of the teens involved in this incident, if you've got something to say about the personal histories of the families ... please keep it to yourself. Feel free to comment based on what's said in the story, about what you saw/heard at the board meeting where this came up, about school policies or those of other institutions, or about anything else in the public record. Thanks for your understanding.
SHARONBOSLER May 19, 2012 at 03:38 AM
i guess the truth hurts that's why my comment got deleted. Thanks for the support yet you have anonymous people making statements that have no clue what is going on they just sit behind their keyboard and insult the family and think they know the entire story.. Before people open their mouths they should learn the facts.....
Beachbum May 20, 2012 at 12:59 PM
Regardless of whether this was 'minor' or 'major', the school has a responsibility to adhere to their own policies, despite the fact they are very vague. According to their own policy, a verbal report must be acted upon within one day and a final report 10 days after the filing of the HIB form. This does not appear to be the case although I am not directly involved. It should be mandatory that any child involved in an altercation be examined by the school nurse and the parents notified...immediately so that the child can be examined by a physician. Many injuries, such as concussion and eye damage, are not immediately visible to the naked untrained eye.
Christine Bott May 23, 2012 at 03:26 PM
And to say you NEVER saw anyone getting bullied in your 4 years of HS - I just think you didn't want to see it!!! But then again HS is large place - how can you be in every corner of that school to see what REALLY happens!! You should be lucky that you weren't bullied!! You are in school to get an education, not worry about walking out of class and getting attacked from behind from some bully!! It's sad that a family wants to protect their child and feel that the JTBOE isn't doing anything to help them keep their child protected so they are taking the necessary steps to do that and to get BULLIED for taking those steps is sad. It's not about them suing and making money from this, it's about making sure JTBOE upholds the law that has been put in place to stop the bullying and currently its seems that they are failing in that department!! They are making a statement and its seems the only way to do that and get their point across is to SUE!! We all know that - everyone listens up and gets that act together when we SUE!! Obviously this is a serious problem and we shouldn't make light of it calling it "a tiny, meaningless altercation that commonly happens in life between two immature children", no person should ever put their hands on another person regardless of age!!! Isn't that what we teach our children as soon as they start to interact with other children??
Sharon Bosler May 23, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Reject Sharon Bosler 4:56 pm on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 Amen Mrs Bott well said as a parent of 2 high school kids myself I totally agree with you 100%. It's very easy for people to make accusations. Besides they have no clue about the incident they are going by hear say not the facts!!! And the amnoyous people need to stop hiding behind a keyboard flapping their mouths. What they write is disturbing and inappropriate if the tables were turned and it was their child I would love to see what form of action they would take!!
Sharon Bosler May 23, 2012 at 08:59 PM
Ha ha another person hiding behind a keyboard.
Michelle Schaller May 23, 2012 at 09:59 PM
It doesn't matter who is right/wrong or who did what! The fact of the matter is there are 2 children/families who are hurt by this sittuation and the school system failed both families.
Christine Bott May 24, 2012 at 01:22 PM
""The greatest ignorance is to reject something you know nothing about”. I just don't understand how people can be so ignorant to what bullying is!! Bullying is a major issue - whether it is verbal or abusive!!! Maybe all you ANONYMOUS or NO NAME people on this message board were the bullies back in your HS days (and obviously still ARE) just don't get it - you don't know the pain that you caused the people that you bullied!! You don't understand the feelings of being bullied. I just think that people who have never been bullied don't know what this child is going through and have never been a victim and it is easy to say it is an "exaggerated situation" or that they are lying. You have no idea what this family is going through with this situation - why do we shun people when they are just trying to protect their own from situations that NO child should have to endure!!" KARMA!!!

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