FAIRFIELD, Ohio -- Angela Black says her son was gifted but socially awkward in his time at Fairfield Middle School.
Those differences, she said, made him a target of bullying -- adding yet another allegation of problems at the same school Emilie Olsen attended before taking her life.
Black said her son is now 15, thriving at a private school and learning to fly an airplane. But when he went to Fairfield Middle School, she said, he was physically attacked.
"A lot of it was just pushing and shoving him down and calling him names," Black said, which included "gay, stupid, annoying."
When she finally got him to talk about it, Black said it was worse than she feared.
"He told me that they had been telling him to go kill himself, to go commit suicide because no one liked him, nobody could stand him, that he was annoying and that his own family probably couldn't even stand him," she said.
Gina Gentry-Fletcher, Fairfield City Schools' community relations director, submitted this statement via email to WCPO - 9 On Your Side:
The concerns of the Black family regarding their son were appropriately investigated and addressed. The parents disagree. By law, the District is not permitted to disclose specific information regarding the allegations or the District’s response unless the parents provide written consent for such disclosure. To date, the parents have not done that, and apparently intend only to publicize their allegations through the media, while denying public access or disclosure as to the merits of those allegations.
As WCPO previously reported, concern from district parents over bullying began to build in December 2014, when 13-year-old Olsen put her father’s gun to her head and pulled the trigger. Olsen’s parents said Emilie was the victim of targeted bullying, which they say led to their daughter’s suicide.
Fairfield officials said they looked into the case and concluded that bullying had not played a part in Olsen’s death, but WCPO’s I-Team found emails, school reports, a social media account and more that showed the exact opposite was true.
Black said she pulled her son out of Fairfield Middle School the day the district sent out an email about Olsen's suicide -- just days after her son told her other students taunted him to do the same.
"Seeing how happy he is now and how he's thriving and his new-found confidence -- it's just amazing," Black said. "But it's sad, because seeing how happy is now I can really see how unhappy he was then."
She spoke out at a Thursday night school board meeting, where a group of Asian-American community leaders delivered a petition demanding more be done to address claims of bullying. Among other things, the petition asked that current bullying policies within the district — and specifically at Fairfield Middle School — undergo a third-party review.
In the months after Olsen's death, new allegations of bullying began to surface at Fairfield Middle School. In a recent case, which came about last month, a parent said his Asian-American daughter was recently the victim of bullying and sent a letter to the Asian-American community to ask that they attend the Oct. 15 meeting.
An attorney representing the parents in that case said the district is seeing "a pattern of bullying and harassment directed at Asian-Americans and young girls in particular."
Though her son no longer attends Fairfield Middle School, Black said she's still involved for the families who still have kids in the district. In a statement, the Fairfield City School District said it investigated Black's claims but cannot release any specific information about the allegations without her written consent, which she hasn't provided.
WCPO's Jason Law, Maxim Alter, John Genovese, Greg Noble and Tom McKee contributed to this report.