ALLEGANY, N.Y. (WIVB) - A grieving mother says her son, 17-year-old Gregory Spring, is being bullied - even after his death.
The teen was close to finishing his sophomore year at Allegany-Limestone High School, but his parents say his constant bullying became too much, and Greg unexpectedly took his own life. Greg's mother, Keri, reached out to News 4. She doesn't want another child to have to go through this.
IN MEMORIAM | Greg Spring
Greg loved to play soccer, hunt and create artistic wood carvings. But the teen was tormented for years by bullies.
"He was just a very compassionate, very loving, very emotional person that just wanted to be accepted," Keri said.
Greg suffered from Tourette syndrome and Callosum Cysgenesis.
"There's a processing link from the right to the left side of the brain, his was missing," Keri said.
That made it difficult for Greg to understand things. His mom says as a result, when he was bullied, Greg would question why it was happening to him.
"He was just distraught but never showed it to us," she said.
Greg attended school in the Allegany-Limestone School District. Keri says he was bullied from the time he was in fourth grade to his toughest year yet...the tenth grade.
She says he recently broke up with his girlfriend and a new kid came to school that tormented him every day.
Keri said, "There came an incident where Greg actually picked him up and said, 'Stop bullying, bullying isn't good. Bullying is only going to hurt people.'"
The school suspended Greg, and Keri says the other student was not punished.
The superintendent would not comment on this case and would only say Greg's suicide was a terrible tragedy and the community is grieving.
His mom says even in death, Greg was tormented. On the message board of the funeral home that officiated his service, someone wrote, "Ha ha. He died. I hope he is in hell."
With her son gone, Keri says all she can do is fight to make sure this never happens again.
"When a bully is brought to your attention, it needs to be hit head-on and stopped immediately," Keri said.
Keri says her husband spoke with State Senator Kathy Young about creating tougher laws to stop bullies and get schools to step in, even if they think the bullying is a small encounter.
The superintendent of the district, Dr. Karen Geelan, released the following statement regarding Spring's death:
"Any allegation of bullying is taken very seriously by the District, and we have a comprehensive anti-bullying policy, pursuant to which I conducted an investigation as soon as I was advised that bullying might have been involved in any way with Greg Spring's tragic death. I have conducted a thorough investigation and to the extent we can determine it, I have determined the young man was not bullied. Based on information received from the police, the untimely loss of this student's life may be attributed to a factor or factors altogether unrelated to bullying."
Dr. Geelan added that the school has a bullying policy in place and programs to address bullying, including bully box locations in the school, online bully reporting and regular intervention team meetings.
Mental health counselor Lynne Shine says if your child starts acting differently or fighting to do normal activities, these could be warning signs your child is being bullied.
"You have an outgoing child and all of a sudden they get quiet. You have a child that's on the cell phone a lot or on the computer a lot and they start to withdraw," Shine said.
If your child is having a hard time expressing what's going on, she says loved ones should keep open lines of communication so the child feels comfortable sharing.
"People often do that when children are young and they give it up somehow when they are teens because the kids don't want to do that," Shine said. "But you should really keep that common time that you're speaking and connecting."
When tragedy does happen, Shine says it is common for teens to copy the action. Shine says it's important to have counselors available to students both inside and outside of school.
"I think that there needs to be more programs when something like that happens. I think the counselors need to push in and talk to everyone in small groups because it does impact everybody," she said.
Shine says if a student is being bullied at school, parents should contact the school's psychologist, counselor or social worker. She says they will be more equipped to deal with those issues.
If parents feel their child's well-being or life is in jeopardy, Shine says they should contact law enforcement. However, when taking that step, parents should gather proof to present to officials.
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