Son’s death compels mom to speak out

Kelly Mead, mother of Scott Mead, spoke about her 15-year-old son’s suicide at the Montrose School Board meeting on Monday. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

Kelly Mead, mother of Scott Mead, spoke about her 15-year-old son’s suicide at the Montrose School Board meeting on Monday. STAFF PHOTO/STACI WILSON

BY STACI WILSON

“I am the mother of Scott David Mead who shot and killed himself 12 days ago,” Kelly Mead said to the Montrose Area School Board Monday night.
She said her son had stood up to support those he knew who were bullied by others. “I failed to teach him it was okay – even important – to stand up for himself.”

Mead, along with about 50 parents, students and members of the community, attended the board meeting where about one and one-half hours were devoted to the subject of bullying.

With a hoarse voice and through tears, Mead read her prepared remarks to the school board.

She said her son was the target of bullying. “I need something good to come out of it. I want to make sure this doesn’t happen to another kid and their parents. It’s part of my healing process.”

Prior to starting the work session, Board President Chris Caterson asked those attending to observe a moment of silence in honor of Scott Mead, “and all the other young people we’ve lost too soon.”

Caterson set aside the work session agenda and said that everyone present would be allowed to speak.

School guidance counselors and administrators discussed programs and procedures already in place in the district to address bullying, social and academic issues.

But one parent said she spoke with students and former students who said they wouldn’t know where to turn if they had a problem. “What can we do to implement to give these kids a safe place, safe feeling and place to be?” she asked.

One parent said her middle school student has been transformed from a “vibrant sixth grader” to an eighth grader who says he feels like an outcast. “We need to do something to stop this,” she said.

Mead said she has been shown an outpouring of love and support since her son’s death. “I can see family members are not the only ones suffering. Our children are in crisis right now. They are afraid to speak up because help has not come in the past,” she said.

She advocated for swift action and education. “We need to empower them to say: ‘I am different. That’s okay. I’m not going to be bullied anymore.’”
Another audience member said, “Something needs to be done. This affects everybody.”

Acting Superintendent Andrew Falonk said administrators from area school districts planned to meet Tuesday to discuss bringing the Gatekeeper program to county schools. The program was developed at Jefferson Hospital, Philadelphia, he said.

The parent of an elementary special needs student asked how the school would deal with a situation in which the student did not realize they were being bullied. “This scares me. They’re quite vulnerable,” she said.

Falonk said that the special education teachers would be able to ascertain an issue with one of their students.

The board was also asked about a former student who offered to bring a program he is involved with “Get Empathy” to the district but was refused.

Principal James Tallarico said the message was not that the school didn’t want him, but the school wanted to find an appropriate time to put a program together for the students.

The school, Tallarico said, is involved in the community’s International Survivors Day program on Nov. 23.

School staff and administrators stressed the importance of reporting bullying or other alarming incidents.

Lathrop Street Elementary Principal Greg Adams said, “There’s not anything we can do if it’s not reported to us. We always follow up, but we need to know about it.”

Caterson said, “We heard your concerns, and there are many. Kelly, you are very brave. You’re a brave woman.”

  • REBECCA HOOVER bohar

    I just don’t get it. We didn’t have these problems growing up. I graduated from Montrose , just turned 37. When I was bullied in 6th grade my Mom went to the girl’s parents house and had a chat. Keep your kids away from cell phones, Facebook , et al., – We didn’t have these things growing up and kids weren’t committing suicide or killing each other

  • FrackDaddy

    I also went to Montrose, And I do remember someone brought a Gun to school, to protect himself from a bully. Thank fully he was caught before he could use it.

  • Melissa Lamphere

    We DID have these problems growing up in Montrose but no one really said or did anything about it. I am 37 and the former student that was mentioned is 38. We went to school together and he was bullied terribly. We both were bullied and nothing was never done about it then and we had no programs in place for such things.

  • Melissa Lamphere

    The technological advances only add to an already existing problem. They are not the cause of it. With all the ways to communicate today there is no escape from the bullying because it goes from school, to the bus, and home through the internet and cell phones.

  • Karen Lake

    Why does it have to end up in a death of a child for anyone to hear the cry for help?? Someone had to have known he was being bullied.. If any child out there knows of another being bullied is there somewhere thay can turn and remain annonymous.. These kids have a bright future and need to be heard, not just ushed aside.. If they are not heard, this is the way it’ll end up.. Stop the violence kids.. Just get along!! God created every child to be uniue (their own person) he didn’t create you or I
    to be any better than the next… My area is still recouping from the loss of a great kid who always
    made everyone smile.. Hope all ends afterthis tragedy.. Kids lost a great friend
    .parents a great kid and the schlool a great student.. Find seome u can.talk to if you are feeling down or being bullied..

  • Melissa Lamphere

    It is terrible that it has to end in tragedy to make a difference. I, personally, could not sit back and be silent. I attended this meeting and arranged for a lot of the parents to be there that showed up by creating a FB event for the school board meeting. I am so glad that so many saw it and attended. It was terrible to here other parents tell stories of their children being bullied. It is even more frightening to know that the kids feel helpless and don’t know where they should turn and or are afraid to turn to anyone at school. My best friend is the one that offered to come here to speak, for no charge, all the way from Los Angeles but they turned down his offer. He had been in the same situation, at the same age, as Scott but luckily was able to move away and overcome what he endured in school. It is terrible that Scott, as well as others, felt lost and confused and tragically escaped it all. No child should have to make that decision. My friend could have reached out and possibly got his message across to many students that there are other ways and you can overcome this. It’s too bad he was denied the chance to let his knowledge, time and heart to the school.

  • Shasta Richmond

    I graduated from Montrose too and we sure as hell did have a problem then. Facebook and cell phone aren’t the cause. The schools, teacher and society play a big part in allowing things like this to happen. A bully not being held accountable is the biggest problem.

  • Becky Lawson

    **Lathrop Street Elementary Principal Greg Adams said, “There’s not
    anything we can do if it’s not reported to us. We always follow up, but
    we need to know about it.”**

    Even when it IS reported, nothing’s done. The bullies are ‘lectured,’ kept inside for recess or given a detention/suspension and it’s dropped. Because of this, Kids are SCARED to report it to the school, because they know nothing will really happen to the bullies, and for fear of being called a narc/nark(sp?) & the consequences that await them (worse bullying, physical harm, etc.).