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In Wake Of School Stabbing, Expert Has Advice On Dealing With Bullying

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- When it comes to bullying, what is to be done if a parent takes all the right steps and it still doesn't stop?

As CBS 2's Kathryn Brown reported, one parent said it happened to him – and it ended in tragedy earlier this week.

The crime shocked the Mount Hope section of the Bronx earlier this week. Noel Estevez, 14, has been charged with stabbing 14-year-old classmate Timothy Crump to death Wednesday outside I.S. 117, at 1865 Morris Ave. in the Bronx.

In a statement Estevez gave to police, the teen claimed he stabbed Crump multiple times because he was being punched. But in court Thursday, defense attorney Eric Poulos said the bullying problems went back well before that.

Estevez had been mercilessly bullied by Crump and his friends, Poulos said. The teen missed months of school before returning this week, neighbors told WCBS 880, on Thursday.

"They were after him for three months, and they couldn't find him because he stayed behind closed doors," Poulos told reporters, including WCBS 880's Jim Smith. "He came out of closed doors, and they sicced on him."

Poulos said bullies came to Estevez's apartment five to seven times, tried to knock down the door and told Estevez he was "dead," and peed on the door when they did not get in.

Marisol Perez, a friend of the Estevez family, said the teen was bullied so badly that he tried to commit suicide two weeks ago.

Harvey Newman of the Center for Education said bullied children often feel like they have nowhere to turn, and panic.

"We know there is a problem. That's not the question," Newman said. "The question now is how to address it."

In Estevez's case, his father said he had requested his son be transferred several times, and even spoke with school administrators the day before the stabbing. But he said nothing was done, and before classes ended, the boy snapped.

"Imagine the frustrations of parents who feel that they've gone to the top, and the situation has not been resolved satisfactorily," Newman said.

Other recourses include making sure all school administrators are aware of the bullying – not just the principal. Newman encouraged parents to reach out to the school's parent coordinator, and said they should make contact with the school's anti-bullying network – a required program for each school under New York State law.

Newman said parents of bullying victims should also talk to their children about how to respond.

Reactions can range from ignoring the issue – which is not recommended – to seeking outside help, including from police.

"Sometimes, just the presence of a youth officer can have a dramatic effect on what is a serious problem," Newman said.

If school administrators feel the bullying is out of their control, there are a number of outside firms they can reach out to that specialize in identifying the problem and quashing the bullying crisis.

The Department of Education said it is conducting its own investigation in the fatal stabbing at I.S. 117 in the Bronx Wednesday.

Estevez has been charged as an adult with second-degree murder and manslaughter and has been ordered held without bail.

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