Glendale Unified rejects $2M claim filed by parents of student who committed suicide on campus

(Raul Roa/Staff photographer)

The Glendale Unified school board on Tuesday rejected a $2-million claim filed against the district by the parents of Drew Ferraro, who jumped to his death at Crescenta Valley High School in February.

John and Deana Ferraro are seeking $1 million for the wrongful death of Drew and $1 million for emotional distress, according to the claim, which was filed July 23.

With the claim rejected, the stage is set for a lawsuit.

The Ferraros allege in their claim that the district failed to “prevent the constant bullying” of their 15-year-old son, that they weren’t warned of the potential of suicide and that officials did not “take steps to prevent it.”

They also allege the district did not “institute any plan or course of action to educate staff and students about bullying and ways to prevent it,” according to the claim.

Glendale Unified Supt. Dick Sheehan declined to elaborate on the district’s decision to reject the claim, citing pending litigation.

“Unfortunately, we won’t be commenting very much at this point forward,” he said.

The coroner investigator’s narrative in the autopsy report said “there was a report that [Drew] was thought to have been suicidal on the day before his death. His parents had been informed; however, [he] did not go home from school and he had been attending school on the day of his death.”

In response to the coroner’s report, the Ferraros issued a statement claiming they were never notified that their son had been suicidal.

“We know he suffered from anxiety and depression, which was being treated,” they said in the statement. “Had we any indication, we would have taken him to his therapist and kept him home until he was doing better.”

On Feb. 10, Drew climbed to the roof of a three-story building and leaped to his death in front of students and staff.

Four suicide notes were later found in Drew’s backpack at the scene, and a toxicology report found trace amounts of marijuana and therapeutic use of the anti-depressant Citalopram.

Also on Tuesday, district officials introduced a revised draft version of its anti-bullying policy. New sections include provisions to address cyber-bullying, intervention, complaints and investigation.

-- Kelly Corrigan, Times Community News

Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan