Bullying recorded at school; Local expert and victim weighs in
By: Amy Kehm and ABC Newsakehm@abcnews4.com
When many of us were young, roughing around was deemed "kids being kids." However in recent years, awareness has grown about the important subject of bullying.
In late August, disturbing video footage emerged from near Tacoma, Washington. It showed a 13-year-old student being lifted up by multiple students, dragged along the floor, having a sock stuffed in his mouth and being trapped under chairs. At times, it appeared that the teacher was participating in the alleged abuse.
The teacher, identified as John Rossi, was suspended for 10 days and later placed on administrative leave. He released a statement to ABC News saying, "I can honestly say that at the time I did not believe that any of the children were at risk of harm during their interactions. Nor did I view the incident as anything more than harmless childhood horse play."
Former Lowcountry teacher Mike Sanz watched the ABC News report.
"The horrible component of this is that the teacher was in the room and allowed this to happen," Sanz said on Lowcountry Live.
Sanz, himself, suffered repeated bullying attacks throughout middle school and high school. During his freshman year of high school, he was bullied nearly every day as he road the bus. Years of panic attacks, depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts plagued Sanz.
"It has been a healing process ever since," Sanz said on Lowcountry Live.
In June, Sanz resigned from the Beaufort County School District to dedicate himself to his program, "Bullied: Hurt, Healing and Hope." He aims to share his experiences of being bullied to help children move forward.
"It's about telling the stories to kids, 'This is what I went through. I don't want you to go through this.'
"What the bullies need to realize is that a moment of their laughter can mean a lifetime for victims."
He also advised parents how to recognize the signs of bullying. According to Sanz, if children are suddenly withdrawn, spending more time alone in their rooms or claiming to sick before school starts, it could be an indication that something is wrong.
"Also look for a dullness in their eyes," Sanz said. "If you see your kids have lost that sparkle in their eyes, something is going on."
To children, he pleads with them to find someone to trust. Tell a parent or a teacher what is happening.
"It will get better. They got to believe that."
ABC News contributed to this report