Wake Schools mum on bullying incidents that led child to attempt to take his life


Michael Morones' parents say he was pushed to it by bullies, but whether the school knew about it or did anything about it remains a mystery.

The ABC11 I-Team spent Tuesday trying to learn more about what Michael's parents say he was going through -- the bullying -- and the school's response to it. However, the district isn't talking.

It's frustrating, according to Michael's parents, especially considering it's not the first time bullying has apparently led to a suicide attempt at Michael's school.

In March 2000, Christopher Joyner, a student at Zebulon Middle School hanged himself in the school gym apparently because he'd been bullied.

At the time his mother warned, "It's not ending and it's got to stop."

Fast forward 14 years and this time the boy's name is Michael Morones. He's also a student at Zebulon Middle School. According to his parents, he was bullied to the breaking point.

In 2009, state lawmakers passed a law requiring school districts to have policies against bullying and Wake County's policy is clear. Students should report it. Teachers and staff must report it.

As for whether any of that happened, the school district isn't saying.

In fact, they aren't answering any questions about what led up to Michael trying to take his own life, or what's been done since in terms of student counseling or discipline.

Anti-bullying advocates say that needs to change.

"They need to have a space to talk about what just happened," said anti-bullying advocate Julie Garcia. "To talk about what they're feeling, what they're experiencing -- a safe space to feel heard, and to be seen, and to share their stories and their voices.

Michael's parents say they would also like to see the district be more proactive.

"They need to look at the tools that are there and realize that they're not working," said Shannon Suttle, Michael's step-father.

They want more mediators. People trained, not just to look for the common red flags, but to see things others might miss. They're worried that until that happens history might just keep repeating itself.

"There's a disconnect there that we can't find and we don't know why," said Suttle.

Michael's parents say he is breathing and feeding tubes are working, but he's still unresponsive. They say he may have life-long brain damage.

Meanwhile, money can still be donated at any State Employees Credit Union under the Michael Morones Recovery Fund, Checks can also be mailed to: The Michael Morones Recovery Fund, c/o Team Trivia Inc., 1380 Woodvine Way, Alpharetta GA 30005, or through PayPal at csuttle3@gmail.com.

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