The parents of a Washington state teen want their son’s teacher fired after learning that the student was terrorized in a bullying attack by peers — and at some points, by the teacher.
The incidents occurred in February at Gig Harbor Middle School, but cell phone video of the attacks surfaced just this week. Footage shows more than a dozen students dragging the then-eighth-grade boy around the classroom, carrying him by his arms and legs, burying him under chairs, writing on his feet and stuffing his socks in his mouth. The antics last about 15 minutes while teacher John Rosi watches, and later joins in.
Rosi pokes the teen in the stomach and pretends to sit on him, chiding, “I’m feeling kind of gassy.” The class Rosi was supposed to be teaching is a half-hour course for reading and math preparation, The News Tribune reports.
After district officials learned of the incident in February, Rosi was suspended for 10 days without pay, given new classroom management training and moved to a different middle school.
But that’s not enough for the boy’s parents, Randall and Karla Kinney, who have requested a criminal investigation and are calling for Rosi’s termination. Joan Mell is representing the victim, who was 13 at the time of the incident.
“It was a teacher-led bullying incident of epic proportions,” Mell told KIRO 7.
Acting Superintendent Chuck Cuzzetto said he was horrified by what he saw in the video, but contends that while Rosi displayed “inappropriate classroom management,” it was an isolated incident in an 18-year career, and the district acted appropriately in disciplining Rosi.
“We took what we think is pretty significant disciplinary action against the teacher,” Cuzzetto told the station.
Still, local police are investigating the complaint alleging abuse and failure to properly report the incident. The boy’s mother Karla broke down crying when she saw the footage, and father Randall tells KING 5 that his son was so traumatized by the incident he even considered suicide. The boy is now attending a private school and receiving therapeutic counseling.
“He told me, ‘I want to die. I want to kill myself,’” Randall told the station.
In a letter to district investigators in February, Rosi apologized for the incident, but said he did not “view the incident as anything more than harmless childhood horse play and a chance for the kids to take a break from the daily grind.”
Read Rosi’s full letter and watch raw footage of the February incident below.
WARNING: the video depicts violent images.