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Tormented For Years, NYC Student To Sue Bullies And Their Parents

Caitlin Rocco, Mother Say It's The Only Way To Get The Message Across
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — You’ve seen the heartbreaking stories, bullies pushing kids to suicide.

Now there are calls for the parents of those bullies to pay.

CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider talked Tuesday with one teen who said the parents should be punished.

“I thought that I would never have friends. I thought that I would never live a happy, fulfilling life. And I sort of just lost the will to live because of that,” Caitlin Rocco said.

Bullies pushed 16-year-old Rocco to the verge of suicide — not once, but twice.

She said they tormented her every day for years.

Last year she was hospitalized after having suicidal thoughts.

“One girl pushed me into the bus lane and said ‘I wish there had been a bus coming because then you would’ve died and I would’ve been happy,’” Rocco said.

Rocco is a senior at Scholars Academy in Rockaway Beach. She said she’s counting the days until graduation — when she’ll finally escape her tormenters.

Until then, she and her mother are fighting back, preparing to sue the bullies and their parents.

“I think parents can do their part by raising children who understand that there are all different kinds of people and it is in no way acceptable to bully any kind of person for any reason,” Rocco said.

Her mother didn’t want to appear on camera, but she had a message.

“Raise your children, and teach your children some tolerance,” Marah Rocco said.

Caitlin Rocco got the help she needed, but Joel Morales wasn’t so lucky. The 12-year-old hung himself last year because of bullies.

“I have meetings together with the fathers and the kids….and they don’t do nothing,” Morales’ mother, Babilonia, said.

Like the Roccos, Morales’ mother said parents are to blame and wants them to be held legally responsible.

However, child specialists argue it’s not that easy for parents.

“Parents cannot 100 percent control what the kids are doing,” clinical social worker Doretha Buster said.

Kathy Wiegand raised six children. She agreed.

“We’re not ultimately liable for what our children do. Our children are independent of us,” Wiegand said. “We should go into it with the idea that we’re helping parents and giving them tools to succeed. We don’t want to put them in a defensive position.

“That’s an absolute last resort,” Wiegand said of lawsuits.

But Caitlin Rocco and her mother are suing, saying it’s the only way to make change.

“There needs to be aggressive and immediate action to prevent more suicide-related bullying,” she said.

“We can’t allow any more children to die,” Marah Rocco added.

It’s a plea from one parent … to all the others out there.

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