A judge is set to consider next week whether to dismiss a case brought against the Glendale Unified School District by the family of a Crescenta Valley High School student who killed himself on campus in 2012.
While attorneys for the family of Drew Ferraro claim bullying played a major factor in the teen's death, the district has responded in court records that Drew appeared normal the day prior to and the day of his suicide. They also noted that neither Drew nor his parents reported any incidents of bullying for almost a year prior to his death.
After 15-year-old Drew jumped to his death, his parents John and Deana Ferraro filed a $2-million wrongful death lawsuit.
According to court records, Deana Ferraro said her son was frequently called homophobic slurs in the hall by fellow males. Drew's sister, Desiree Ferraro, said three female students bullied him.
In the lawsuit, the Ferraros state their son "feared the atmosphere that defendants failed to improve for him and from this, his anxiety attacks worsened, as did his progress at school."
Drew's female classmate, who the News-Press is not identifying because she is a minor, when asked in a deposition why she thought Drew killed himself, replied, "Because he was bullied."
"When we would hang out, he would talk about certain people at school not liking him," she said.
Two days before Drew killed himself on campus, he texted a friend, "I honestly think we could use an apocalypse... It would all just be over and I wouldn't be hurting anyone with my death."
After coming across the conversation, Drew's mother confronted him. "We talked about suicide being permanent and that it's something you can't take back and that he's loved and he has a lot of friends," Deana Ferraro said in a court deposition. "I know. I know. I'm not thinking about doing anything like that," she recalled Drew saying.
Glendale Unified attorneys allege Drew's suicide "was deliberate as opposed to uncontrollable and random," court records show, and also state neither Drew nor his parents reported any bullying incidents to the school after May 2011.
Medical records show Drew suffered from a head injury when he was 10, but was otherwise healthy.
A physician who treated him in June of 2010 — two days before the teen's 14th birthday — made notes on Drew's mental health that read, "Feels depressed about school pressures and family issues. Has future plans and agreed to call if ever feels suicidal."
When asked why Drew may have killed himself, his father, John Ferraro, replied in a court deposition, "[Drew] couldn't continue to live with the harassment and being degraded and belittled so much, so often and that even with our parental guidance and assistance to try to intervene... so, I feel, instead of him lashing out and hurting people, which is an offset of a severe depressed person, which we've all seen as a community, he chose to take his own life."
The hearing on the summary judgment motion is scheduled to take place Aug. 26 in Burbank.