MONROEVILLE, Pa. (KDKA) – A father claims his daughter’s black eye was the culmination of months of bullying in the Gateway School District.
The alleged victim’s family says the school knew about it but didn’t put a stop to it until it was too late.
The pictures are disturbing. A young girl’s eye blackened, nearly swollen shut. His father describes what happened.
“Without hesitation,” he said. “Straight whack…right in the eye. Didn’t even look at her. Boom, then she slid across the table.”
The alleged incident occurred last Thursday at the Gateway High School cafeteria between 15-year-old Kayla Traficante and a 15-year-old boy at a table. In what has been described as roughhousing, the boy grabbed her arm, then she hit him in the face leading to him punching her in the eye.
Her mom and dad say this incident is the result of seven months of bullying.
“Kids bully her so much and get away with it,” Traficante’s dad said. “That kid didn’t hesitate. ‘I can punch her, she’s a punching bag for the school.”
The district says administrators acted immediately, suspending and citing both students. The young man could face criminal charges.
Attorney Phil Dilucnete says that’s not enough.
“The focus here today is about this young lady and other students,” Dilucnete said. “Prevention. Prevention, and what’s the plan going forward. And that’s why I’m calling for a bullying officer.”
Gateway already has its own police force, but Dilucnete said that’s not enough.
“You deserve anything bad that happens to you,” a crying girl read. “You should have killed yourself last year. No one’s stopping you now.”
It was February of last year, also at Gateway. A teenage girl was bullied to the point of multiple suicide attempts. Dilucnete met with the superintendent and demanded action.
“We’re happy to have this young lady get back to school so that she can do what you’re supposed to do at school,” Dilucnete said. “That’s learn without any kind of problems or troubles.”
In that case, students were disciplined. The young lady actually dropped out of school.
In the case of Traficante, the district says they were very aggressive and took immediate action. Her father doesn’t see it that way.
“She’s scared to walk to lunch and go down the steps because of certain people she passes,” Traficante’s father said. “So she waits. What freshman in high school should have to endure that?”
The school district says the investigation into the case is ongoing.