Bay Ridge

Tears for boy who committed suicide over bullying

Sister’s Go Fund Me campaign raises more than $125,000

August 17, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Daniel Fitzpatrick, who attended Holy Angels Catholic Academy in Bay Ridge, committed suicide last Thursday. Photo from www.gofundme.com
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Daniel Fitzpatrick lived for only 13 years on this earth, but his family appears to be determined that his legacy lives on so that other children can be helped. Daniel, a former student of Holy Angels Catholic Academy in Bay Ridge who committed suicide in his family’s Staten Island home on Aug. 11, was set to be laid to rest on Wednesday.

Daniel hanged himself in the attic and left behind a devastating hand-written note in which he detailed the bullying he underwent at Holy Angels Catholic Academy, a private school located at 337 74th St. Daniel plaintively wrote in his note that no one at the school, with the exception of one teacher, tried to help him.

The boy’s mother, Maureen Fitzpatrick, showed the note to the New York Daily News.

“I gave up,” Daniel wrote. In the extraordinary note, Daniel also names the bullies who tormented him.

A funeral for Daniel was scheduled to take place at Sacred Heart Catholic Church on Staten Island Wednesday morning.

His heartbroken sister Eileen Fitzpatrick, 17, started a Go Fund Me page with a goal of raising $10,000 to help her grieving parents, Daniel and Maureen Fitzpatrick, pay for the child’s funeral.

The campaign has drawn an overwhelming response. As of Wednesday afternoon, more than $125,000— and counting— had been raised.

Eileen Fitzpatrick wrote on Go Fund Me that the funds left over after the funeral expenses were paid would be donated to an organization that raises awareness of the effects of bullying on children and works to prevent suicide. The family had not chosen the recipient at press time.

“We want to give Daniel a proper memorial, as well as shine a bright light on the bullying that killed him,” Eileen Fitzpatrick wrote. “My brother was 13 years old; he did not have life insurance, because he wasn’t supposed to die. This was a very unexpected tragedy for my family and we were not prepared for it.” 

The family is overwhelmed by the response, Eileen Fitzpatrick wrote.

“With all these responses and support we would love nothing more than to donate to [an] organization that fights bullying and encourages suicide awareness. We have not chosen any yet, seeing as we are still dealing with preparations for my brother. We have every intention to help other families never go through what we are going through. We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for helping us and hearing his story,” she wrote.

Daniel and Maureen Fitzpatrick planned to enroll their son at another school in September to get him away from the bullies.

Officials at Holy Angels did not return phone calls. But a spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn issued a statement on the tragedy.

“In light of this tragedy we are re-examining all bullying prevention policies and training,” Carolyn Erstad stated. “The principal, teachers and staff of Holy Angels Catholic Academy are heartbroken over the loss of Danny Fitzpatrick. We take the issue of bullying very seriously and address every incident that is brought to our attention.”

The Washington Post reported on Aug. 16 that Holy Angels Catholic Academy has a bullying prevention program in which teachers are trained to recognize signs of bullying and how to intervene.

The tragedy appears to be more complicated than at first glance.

The same Washington Post article quoted from a report completed several months ago by the New York City Administration for Children’s Service that found that Daniel was deeply affected by trouble at home and had started having angry outbursts at school.

 


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