Ken Kalthoff

Mom Visits School Where She Claims Suicidal Son Was Bullied

District says policy is strong against bullying

The mother of 11-year-old Julio Ortiz believes her son was bullied at Stockard Middle School in Dallas before he killed himself on March 8.

"I want to make parents aware of what's going on out there, that it's not easy to talk with your children," said his mother, Mayra Rodriguez.

Tuesday she visited the campus at 2300 Ravinia Drive to meet with school officials.

Rodriguez admits neither she nor her son filed a formal complaint about bullying with the school before the boy’s death. 

School district spokesperson Robyn Harris said there was no indication of bullying from his behavior in school.

But Rodriguez said the boy shared hints of trouble before he hanged himself at home in a closet.

"Three days prior to the situation, he said, 'If I fight at school, are you going to be mad?' My kid was not a fighting kid. He was always lovable," Rodriguez said. "For him to say 'fight,' I should have listened. But I didn't listen."

A Dallas mother is hoping her 11-year-old son's tragic suicide will inspire other parents to pay closer attention to their children's complaints.

The Dallas Independent School District has a detailed policy about bullying posted online with a video that gives encouragement to kids and parents about making a report.

The district's Counselor of the Year, Norma Wright, could not discuss specifics of the Ortiz case, but said the policy requires that adults at school listen when kids report bullying.

"They will sit down with you, find out who you are being victimized by, what is the action that they're doing, and then we will create an action plan and put it in to the principal," Wright said.

The counselor said the district works to help parents identify symptoms of bullying at home, including loss of appetite, sadness and refusing to talk about school.

"We want to just get students to learn how to look inside of themselves and just express what they're going through. It could be something very simple. We don't know. But we don't want to go without dealing with it," Wright said.

Harris said there was a "good discussion" between the mother and officials at Stockard Middle School Tuesday about the tragedy.

Rodriguez said she is not satisfied and is considering a lawsuit. But she also wants other parents to pay more attention to situations that could result in tragedy.

"I wish I could have hugged him and told him it's going to be OK. But unfortunately it's too late to be OK," she said. "I do want to tell all those parents that have that chance."

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