As a parent of a student at Williams Intermediate School, Paul Fabrizio said he receives notifications about school events almost weekly.
The automated phone messages include topics ranging from teacher meetings to school pictures, and they come as early as 5:30 a.m., when snow forces a cancellation.
So Fabrizio, 40, said he was surprised when he watched the news Friday night and saw a video of what appeared to be three Williams School students beating up another student inside a school bathroom.
“We usually get notified over everything,” he said Saturday at the town’s Little League baseball complex, located behind the school. “How come we didn’t get a notification on that?”
As school officials and police investigate an alleged bullying incident brought to light by a student-filmed video, parents said the issue of bullying in all forms is more visible than ever before.
Those interviewed Saturday didn’t directly criticize the Bridgewater-Raynham school district’s handling of its current investigation. But they said awareness of the problem has never been more necessary.
“It all depends on the situation,” said Fabrizio, whose daughter attends the Williams School.
“That video did look bad,” he said, pausing. “But, hopefully, they do something to teach a lesson.”
In the 19-second video, obtained by The Enterprise, three students appear to restrain and attack another boy in a school bathroom. Superintendent of Schools Jacqueline Forbes said she has seen the video, which she said was filmed Tuesday at the close of the school day, and that police are working with school officials to investigate.
The three alleged attackers in the video have been suspended, police and a school official said Friday.
It’s forced school officials to defend the district’s anti-bullying plan, which the attorney of the boy who filmed the video criticized Friday.
Mary Walsh, 41, has three children in the Bridgewater-Raynham school system, though none attend the Williams School. She said she believes school officials are trying to “put a stop” to bullying, but said an immediate notice to parents about any investigation into bullying would be welcomed.
She said it would give parents an immediate opportunity to talk with their children about bullying, which she did upon learning of the current investigation.
“I have a younger one in third grade and he immediately said, ‘I’d go get help,’” she said.
Ed Parolin, 38, said his son, who is in third grade, told him he doesn’t see a lot of bullying. Parolin added that may be because “it’s more of a teenage thing,” but he believes cyber-bullying, through the Internet and social media sites like Facebook, is more prevalent. “It puts it out there for everyone to see, and it grows,” he said.
Said Fabrizio: “Now, it’s texting, the Internet, you see them at school, you live in a small town and everybody knows everybody. It’s harder to get away from (bullying).”
It’s a situation West Bridgewater’s Alan Tate said he’s directly dealt with. A licensed professional investigator, Tate said he was recently hired by a family in central Massachusetts whose daughter was being bullied by other students who created a fake Facebook page about her.
One of the results of the case, he said, was everyone involved became more aware of the new bullying statute created by state officials.
“It turned out for that school to be a learning experience to see how the system worked,” Tate said. “And it worked well. In my opinion, it just took a little bit of time where it gears up to where they’re quicker.
“Being the first time when you have a first case of cyber-bullying or straight bullying issues in a school, you have to cut (people) slack all the way around.”
Parolin said he believes officials will deal with this particular case appropriately.
“If there is a problem, this town will take care of it,” he said. “I don’t think they put up with that stuff.”