A new investigation into the stabbing death of a 14-year-old Bronx youth has found that Education and Children's Services officials were aware of the bullying going on and did nothing to stop it.
Noel Estevez fatally stabbed Timothy Crump in June after suffering months of allegedly being tormented by Crump's bullying, which included urinating on the family's front door and yelling homophobic slurs at Estevez, reportedly over a stolen cell phone, writes Anna Merlan for The Village Voice.
According to a report by the Education Department's Special Commissioner of Investigation, two guidance counselors at the school as well as Children's Services worker Irma Brown were aware of the situation.
"Estevez told Brown that he was being harassed by several children who followed him to and from school," the report released Wednesday said.
The report also stated that Brown had met with school guidance counselor Diane Jean Pierre on May 13, more than a month before the fatal stabbing took place, to discuss the possibility of Estevez receiving home instruction because of the bullying. Jean Pierre denied the request, citing that Estevez was physically able to attend classes.
Attempts by Estevez's mother to attain a police report, which would have allowed for a school transfer, were also denied because he had not been physically harmed from the bullying.
Right before the incident, Noel's father had met with school officials.
"The school did nothing," Noel's mother, Maria Estevez, told the Daily News last month. "They wouldn't listen to us."
On April 30, it was written in the school's internal Automate the Schools system that, "Child told mother that he is being harassed in the school by some students and mother went to (precinct) and made a report." Principal Delise Jones denied seeing the report before the incident, although she did have access to it.
According to the investigation by the Education Department, no school staff members were aware of the report. Yet the investigation ended with the school being absolved of most of the responsibility for the incident, writes Ben Chapman for The New York Daily News.
The investigation "did not establish that any bullying or harassment of Noel Estevez or Timothy Crump took place at I.S. 117," documents read. That is not to say that no bullying took place elsewhere."
Estevez is currently awaiting trial in Family Court after having his initial charges of second-degree murder reduced to manslaughter. If convicted of aggravated manslaughter, Estevez could spend up to 30 years in prison.
"Our feeling is that the Board of Ed failed [Estevez], the cops failed him, they wouldn't come to the house, they wouldn't transfer him from the school. Legal aid is not going to fail him," Eric Poulos, attorney for Estevez, said late last month.