BURGETTSTOWN (KDKA) — A local mother is speaking out about bullying after she says her son became a target.
It can happen in any school district, in any community; and administrators in Burgettstown are now trying to diffuse a number of bullying incidents at the middle and high school.
“They call him the ‘N’ word, and they make fun of his crippled feet,” says Gina Stillwagoner.
Like most moms, Stillwagoner tries to protect her son, Troy, from the sticks, and stones and hurtful words that life may bring.
“The bullying has to stop,” she tells KDKA’s Mary Robb Jackson. “That’s a form of bullying when you call my son a name or make fun of someone.”
Troy Corso, 16, is one of a handful of bi-racial students at Burgettstown’s Middle and High School.
His mother says he’s actually multi-ethnic, Italian, African American and Native American. He was also born with club feet and has a walking disability.
On Wednesday, Stillwagoner admits that Troy, after two weeks of harassment, lost it with one on his alleged tormentors.
“A kid was following him down the hallway calling him that “N” word, so Troy turned around and snatched him up, pushed him up against the wall; didn’t hit him at all,” says Stillwagoner.
She didn’t know about it until her son told her.
She doesn’t defend Troy’s actions, but says other students at the school are experiencing similar pressure. She worries what might happen if it keeps escalating.
“So, hopefully, we get things settled – not just for my son – it’s for all the kids that go to Burgettstown,” Stillwagoner added.
Burgettstown Superintendent Debbie Jackson confirms that there were two bullying incidents last week, and just this past weekend, a bi-racial student was assaulted at the holiday “Snow Ball.”
“I don’t think they’re sweeping this under the rug,” Stillwagoner said.
The Superintendent gave KDKA this statement: “The Burgettstown Middle-High School Principals are aware of recent incidents which may involve bullying at the school. They are meeting with parents and students who may have been involved in such incidents. The District and its Administration do not condone acts of bullying and will continue to work with the school community on methods to prevent such incidents from re-occurring.”
“If there was more love in this world and less hatred, we would all get along a lot better,” said Stillwagoner.