LA CRESCENTA, Calif. — During a busy lunch break on Friday, where hundreds of students milled about at Crescenta Valley High School, sophomore Drew Ferraro, 15, took a running start and leaped off a three-story classroom building into the courtyard below, ending his life.
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said that Sheriff’s detectives were looking for a note while Glendale Unified Schools spokesperson Steven Frasher told the media; “There’s no indication, whatsoever, that bullying played into this scenario.”
In fact, according to Frasher, last week the district held a student assembly on ways to cope with bullies. Glendale Unified Supt. Dick Sheehan told reporters, “As a district, we take bullying very seriously.”
But that’s not what Drew’s friends and others are saying.
In a series of interviews with CBS News, the young man’s friends maintain that he was bullied to the point that he was in despair, telling one, he didn’t want to go to school any longer.
Olin Tellefsen told CBS Los Angeles that he was a close friend of Ferraro’s. He said Ferraro was a bright kid, who played football and loved heavy metal. He added that Ferraro was taunted by other male students. Last year, Ferraro was involved in a fight with several boys that upset him, but Tellefsen didn’t know how much that fight might have affected him.
“He always seemed like he had something on his mind but it was never…never indicative of anything like this,” Tellefsen said at a candlelight vigil last night.
Another friend who actually saw him jump said that the bullying got to Ferraro badly enough that he didn’t want to go to school. Meghan Dorosy told CBS Los Angeles, “He definitely was bullied, and he didn’t want to go to school. I know how it feels because I was bullied and I didn’t want to go to school.”
Now, there’s been absolutely no mention of Drew’s sexual orientation thus far, in fact, details are sketchy at this point as to why an apparently bright yet quiet young man was driven to such a tragic act.
A classmate wrote of Drew:
The last thing you expect when you come out of class is to see someone laying there, someone who took his life just seconds before. I could see him there. but I couldn’t believe it. While everyone was panicking and telling each other what happened, I kept thinking that he just tripped or fainted.
But then you could see the blood near his head and instantly, you knew he was gone. I don’t know how I feel. I have no idea what drove him to take his own life. Having an anti-bullying assembly a week before didn’t help.
They say suicide is a cry for attention but he did it without any hesitation. Not craving attention just jumping off the roof of the school without anyone around. You can’t say that suicide is the coward’s out. How can you blame someone when they have no desire to live. All it took was that final push. We’ll never know what it was.
You know stuff like this you hear about but never except to happen in your life. Adults were supposed to take control of the situation but seeing even the principal, teachers, and students cry was a horrible sight to see.
Sitting on that field, waiting to be released to our parents, I remembered his innocent face. I remembered those times during practice during the football season we were doing defensive drills. Drew tackled me and the coach gave him praise. I was so jealous that he was good at hitting. Me and Drew being the new guys competed for that corner back spot. He was always quiet but that smirk when he got a good hit would even make me smile.
I’m not sure what to say. There are things we could learn from this. Treat everyone well because you don’t know what they’re going through. I don’t think I would be able to live knowing that I was a reason for someone to take their life. Love more and hate less because life is precious. Life is unpredictable and not a second of it should be wasted. Appreciate everything you have. Friends, family, and everything else you are blessed with. Words hurt, think about what you say before you say them. Something small could have a big impact on another person’s life. Spend time with those you love and constantly remind them that you are thankful to have them in your life. Drew, for you, I’ll become a better person. I’ll try to be nicer and if anyone needs me to listen, I will be here. I’m terribly sorry I couldn’t do that for you. That’s something I regret.
Today was a reality check. Our school lost a fellow falcon and friend. Drew made an impact on the school and the community. I hope those reading this will get something out of this message. From the bottom of my heart, I wish his family, friends, and those affected comfort through this tragedy. You are gone but not forgotten. Rest in paradise Drew Ferraro.
The young man writes eloquently about his friend and expresses pain and loss that will spread beyond this suburban Los Angeles County community. Why? Drew’s death is yet another sad loss for all of us.
Gay, Straight, Pink with Poka-dots, it just doesn’t matter. Simply because the American culture has become toxic for adolescents and in particular, LGBTQ youth. But as members of the HUMAN race, we all bear the responsibility to stop bullying before young people like Drew take their lives because they see no hope.
District officials said they would have grief counselors stationed at the campus for days as the student body struggles to cope with this tragedy. Well that’s nice- how about those same officials take a closer look at the toxic environs that caused the boy to leap off a building BEFORE another child takes his or her life?
As a journalist, I tire of reporting these type of stories.
This is made worse as I have been attending the CPAC function here in Washington this weekend and have had to listen to speaker after speaker rail against this minority group or that gay group, spouting ideology that becomes a veritable petri dish that grows a toxic fungus [message] that will cause kids to see no hope, feel no sense of their being human, and thus see no worthwhile endeavors or reasons for living further.
Which, of course is fueled by bullies whose parents send the message that being different is not okay and somehow less human.
Do I believe that Drew was bullied? Yes, I do. Does it matter if he was Gay or not? No, not one damn bit.