Family wants teacher fired over classroom bullying

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by DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @Drewmikk

KING5.com

Posted on August 29, 2012 at 10:31 AM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 29 at 10:07 PM

A Pierce County family wants a middle school teacher fired after their son was picked on in the teacher's classroom.

The incident happened in February at Gig Harbor's Kopachuck Middle School.

Cell phone video, shot by students, shows the then 13-year-old being dragged around the classroom. It also shows several students stacking chairs on top of the boy, a classmate putting a sock in his mouth and others sitting on him while he is held by his arms and legs. Watch an edited segment of the video by clicking here.

"I was shocked. My wife broke down crying. It was tough to see," said Randall Kinney, the boy's father.

All of it happened in front of a teacher, who at times participated in the incident.

"I don't think he realizes what he has done," said Karla Kinney, the boy's mother.

Following the incident, the boy, now 14 and attending a private school, told his parents he was thinking about suicide.

"He told me, 'I want to die. I want to kill myself.'" said Randall.

"I was horrified by what I saw," said acting Peninsula School District Superintendent Chuck Cuzzetto. 

Cuzetto said the teacher displayed  "inappropriate classroom management," but the district decided against firing the teacher because of his "body of work" over an 18-year teaching career in the district.

"It’s an isolated situation in an 18-year career. That’s horrific, and it deserves some pretty significant action fast. And that’s what we did,” Cuzzetto said.

The teacher, John Rosi, was suspended for 10 days without pay by the district and moved to a different middle school within the district.

The Kinneys not only want the teacher fired, but the incident investigated as a potential crime to see whether the teacher or district did not report the incident properly.

Read Rosi's account of what happened in the letter below. The letter was obtained by the student's parents via a public records request.

Rosi Letter 021012

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