'There is nothing that the school is doing.' Some Lindenhurst parents says uncontrolled bullying led to school stabbing
Many parents have detailed a chronic problem of bullying at Lindenhurst Middle School and they believe Monday's school stabbing is only an extension of that bullying.
Suffolk County police say a 12-year-old boy stabbed a 13-year-old boy in the leg at Lindenhurst Middle School around 12:30 p.m. He was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital, where officials said he is in critical but stable condition.
Gina Tabone said the stabbing is a wake-up call for the school district. She tells Team 12 Investigates that her 13-year-old son has been persistently bullied and has raised concerns with school administrators.
"My son should not have had to witness what happened today at 13," Tabone said. "There are zero consequences for so many incidents."
Team 12 Investigates has previously reported about concerns about bullying and cyberbullying at Lindenhurst Middle School.
Jeannie Sailer said her 13-year-old was also repeatedly bullied at school. The daily barrage of racial slurs and name-calling started in the halls of Lindenhurst Middle School and followed Sailer's daughter home. Sailer saw the disturbing text messages on her daughter's phone.
She has since become an advocate for other parents and their children. She is fighting what she can only describe as a chronic bullying problem at the middle school. She felt it was only time before that bullying escalated into something more serious.
"I one thousand percent saw this coming," Sailer said. "School officials are trying to implement some programs, but clearly it's not working. Clearly what your bringing in is not working and you need to do better for our kids."
Sailer told Team 12 Investigates that she filed several Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) complaints, which are the forms used to report incidents of bullying or cyberbullying against students.
Under DASA, school districts to report all incidents of bullying and cyberbullying to the New York State Education Department.
Team 12 Investigates reviewed the most recent state data available, which is from the 2020-2021 School Year. It lists only two cases of bullying at Lindenhurst Middle School and zero cases of cyberbullying districtwide.
Several parents, and students, have come forward with complaints that those numbers are, in reality, much higher.
"These kids are getting threatened every day," said parent Nicole Molé.
"It's not getting any better and this is just an extension of bullying," said grandparent Joseph Sanguino. "If bad behavior and bullying is tolerated, it only escalates to what we have today which is criminal behavior."
Brianna Benson, a seventh grade student who witnessed the stabbing, was wiping the blood stains off her white shoes when she told Team 12 Investigates she no longer feels safe at school.
"There are too many fights going on and bullying. It will never stop," Benson said.
Lisa Kmiotek said her son was threatened by another student with a knife in February, just one month before Monday's stabbing.
When she tried to raise concerns at a school board meeting about how the district handled her complaint, she said she was turned away because she did not sign up to speak in advance.
"Last meeting they had, last board meeting, I went there to talk about this. They go 'No, no no. You didn't sign in.' They wouldn't even let me speak," explained Kmiotek.
Kmitoek is not alone. Other parents said they feel their concerns about bullying in the middle school have fallen on deaf ears.
"There is nothing that the school is doing. Nothing to protect these kids," said parent Melissa Kurz. ". My daughter is getting bullied and it's repetitive every week. Every week."
"I have in the past asked what are we doing about possibly a weapon coming into our school? What are you doing to keep our children safe?" asked Sailer. "Do better for our children and if you can't handle the job, let's find someone else who is going to do it."
Lindenhurst Superintendent Anthony Davidson previously said that he was working to create a partnership with parents to better address cases of bullying and harassment.
Team 12 Investigates asked for a follow-up interview to see how that work is progressing, given the recent stabbing incident. He did not return our requests for comment.