School officials disagree that bullying played part in suicide - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

School officials disagree that bullying played part in student suicide

Posted: Updated:

By now you've probably heard the story of Shay Crabtree, a 16-year old student at McLean County High School that took his own life because he was bullied at school according to his parents.

Friday, 14 News questioned school officials on if they think bullying is a problem at their school.

Friends and family describe Shay Crabtree as a loveable kid who wouldn't hurt a fly.

"Shay had such a big heart," said family friend Betty Carter.

A month ago, Shay took his life.  His parents say it was the result of constant bullying.

School officials disagree.

"We've worked closely with the Sheriff's Department on this instance and they've labeled it. All the evidence they have is it's not bullying," says Principal McLean County High School Ashley Troutman.

"I don't understand how they can say that it didn't have anything to do with bullying. Why were incidents happening the week before my son died regarding bullying?" asked Shay's mother Lori Crabtree.

Though school leaders deny bullying was a cause in Crabtree's death, Superintendent Tres Settle admits his school does have a bullying problem.

"I'd be lying if I said that bullying doesn't exist in our schools. I feel like it absolutely does. I feel like it's not a problem just in McLean County but in schools across the nation," Settle says.

Settle says the school has added bullying awareness into classrooms.

An anonymous text messaging system has also been put into place to allow students to inform faculty they've witnessed bullying.

Crabtree's family and friends don't think it's working.

"If they can't trust the adults when they're coming face to face with them, why would they think that texting is going to be taken seriously," Lori Crabtree says.

"When a kid comes to them, take it serious okay. Call that parent," says Carter.

14 News asked Settle if the family did want to come and meet with them to address some things would they be open to that?  Settle responded, saying "Absolutely. I know the family wants answers, I want answers. Our responsibility is to continue to investigate and continue to cooperate with local law enforcement."

School officials say students are sent home with bullying notice notifications if the school thinks the child is bullying other students.

Related stories:

Copyright 2011 WFIE. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow