Parents of bullied Gig Harbor teen take aim at teacher

Parents of bullied Gig Harbor teen take aim at teacher
GIG HARBOR, Wash. -- The shaky cell phone video that appears to show a teacher bullying his own middle school student made national headlines, but the fallout from the incident is hitting the victim's family very close to home.

At a Thursday night school meeting, that family took aim at the teacher accused of bullying their 13-year old son.

The boy's parents are struggling with emotions. They're frustrated at the school's response to the incident and sad for their son.

"I stand here as an advocate for my son," said Randall Kinney, the victim's father.

Randal Kinney spoke about what he saw on the video, which was filmed by students in early February at Kopachuck Middle School.

"Holding him down, pulling his underwear up, giving him wedgies, laughing at him, putting socks in his mouth," he said.

The family said they're disgusted that the teacher, John Rosi, initially only received a 10-day suspension for his actions.

"To me it was bullying and degradation of his character," Randal Kinney said. "Watching those videos was so painful for our family."

Other parents attended the meeting to show their support for the Kinney family, but no one spoke on Rosi's behalf. Despite that, Rosi's attorney said his client does have support within the community.

"I'm being overrun with people in support of this man," said Bryan Hershman. "He is a man I would trust with my life and the life of my children."

Hershman did admit that Rosi exercised poor judgment on the day the video was shot, but said the teacher is not a bully.

"You'll have to forgive me. That's ridiculous. He's a kid at heart," Hershman said.

The real kid in this story, the victim, is now in counseling and attending a private school.

Randall Kinney said his son told him he was getting bullied prior to February's incident, and he now regrets the advice he gave his boy.

"If they hit you, smile and walk away. Cry in private. And that was terrible advice, terrible advice," he said.

The school board urged the public not to rush to judgement and said they're waiting for the results of a sheriff's department investigation before they determine Rosi's future.

In addition to his 10-day suspension, Rosi was originally reassigned to another school. But after hearing from angry parents, the school district reversed its course and put the teacher on paid administrative leave.