Parents question anti-bullying efforts after suicide

By Matt Porter

November 11, 2013 Updated Nov 12, 2013 at 8:16 AM EST

Montrose, PA (WBNG Binghamton) Kelly Mead held back tears as she addressed the members of the Montrose Board of Education, calling for their attention to stop bullying.

On Halloween morning, she said her son Scott took his father's .22 caliber hunting rifle and shot himself in the head.

She said her 15-year-old son was bullied at Montrose Area High School.

"I don't want this to be brushed under the carpet. I don't want another set of parents to lose a child," Mead said.

She and a dozen others held candles as they stood outside the high school before the meeting.

Inside, they spoke for more than an hour, imploring school officials to do more to find out which kids need help.

The meeting was so crowded it had to be moved to the school auditorium instead of the library.

Scott Mead had never been flagged for discipline problems or a potential victim of bullying, his mother said.

"He didn't say anything about any troubles," Mead said.

School board president Chris Chaterson said the district has plans and procedures to stop and prevent bullying, but they're not 100 percent.

"Anybody that's familiar at all with bullying knows it's impossible to eradicate bullying. It will always exist, it always has," Chaterson said. "But we need to work really hard to encourage kids to report it when they see it."

Chaterson said extra councilors and relief staff have been made available since Scott Mead's death.

The school plans to put on a program about curbing bullying and suicide on Nov. 23.

Kelly Mead has been invited to attend.

Despite that, however, many parents wanted answers and the school to do more. Jill Swingle, who's oldest child graduated Montrose High School last year, was among those to speak out.

"We need to find someway to help the students that are here," Swingle said. "If they need help, where do they go? Who do they turn to?"

For Kelly Mead and other mothers who've lost their children to bullying, seeing others avoid the same fate is the best they can wish for.

"These children can be empowered to stand up and say, 'I am different and that's Ok. I'm not going to be bullied anymore,'" Mead said.