7. Police investigate death of 12-year-old boy who was bullied in school
Police launched an investigation into an alleged bullying incident at Princeton Middle School following the March 26 death of a 12-year-old boy. And area parents, teachers and school administrators found themselves grappling with the dilemma of school bullying.
Dalton Lee Walker, 12, died outside his home in Princeton of a “self-inflicted injury,” Chief P.V. Powell of the Princeton Police Department confirmed in an earlier report.
Lt. P.W. Hill, the lead investigator in the case, said Walker’s mother had told him that her son had been frequently bullied, and that the bullying “had been going on for some time and that she had spoken to school officials several times.”
Mercer County School Superintendent Dr. Deborah Akers — faced with questions from parents and the media following the child’s death — said the school system does have policies against bullying in place.
“We are well aware that bullying is a much-reported issue nationwide and, naturally, parents are concerned about their own children and schools,” Akers said in a prepared statement following the incident at Princeton Middle School. “I would tell parents that this district, its administrators and teachers, are committed to the strong anti-bullying measures we have in place in all of our schools.”
When school personnel deal with a student accused of bullying or any other infraction, the parents of the child who was bullied cannot be told the result, according to Mercer County Board of Education President Greg Prudich. By state and federal law, school personnel cannot share information such as details about a student reprimand, Prudich said.
The tragedy at the middle school led to the formation of a new organization, the Mercer County Parents and Students Coalition Against Bullying, and a renewed push by area parents to address bullying in the schools.