CHICAGO — A Chicago nonprofit and area law firm are teaming up to help parents of bullying victims.
A heartbreaking press conference was held Wednesday in the Loop, in which one family shared their ordeal regarding cyberbullying and how things said on social media led to the loss of an intelligent, confident and funny 15-year-old.
“It takes a while for society to catch on to how determinantal something is. An example is tobacco and fentanyl. Social media belongs in that category,” said Rob Bronstein, who, alongside his wife, Rose, spoke about their son Nate, who died by suicide on January 13, 2022.
The grieving parents say classmates and other students at the Latin School of Chicago viciously bullied their son.
“Before our son took his life, he was subjected to multiple attacks online on Snapchat in a text chain and a message that said ‘Go kill yourself,’ via Snapchat,” Rob Bronstein said.
Bronstein told WGN News that he was unaware of what Nate was being subjected to until it was too late. It’s why they created the nonprofit Buckets over Bullying, which seeks to combat cyberbullying, hold bullies and those who enable them accountable, and educate all others about the dangers of what can happen over the internet.
“These parents have told us their reports to schools and parents of bullies have been ignored,” added Rose Bronstein. “We have inherently become Illinois’ bullying hotline.”
The parents behind the Chicago nonprofit on Wednesday announced a partnership with Disparti Law Group.
“We believe we have enough to hold families and schools accountable when they don’t take action to stop the bullying,” said Larry Disparti, the founder of Disparti Law Group.
The firm will provide free legal support to families impacted by bullying.
Rose Bronstein said that along with the partnership, she hopes for other kids’ sakes, the education on bullying and its potential effects starts at home.
“Parents, we implore you to start educating yourselves on how dangerous social media is for our children,” Bronstein said. “These are life-saving conversations.”
The Bronsteins add that more should be done at the school level. Soon, they may have too.
House Bill 3425 has passed both chambers and will soon hit Governor JB Pritzker’s desk for signature. It would, amongst other things, require administrators to notify parents or guardians that their child was involved in an incident of bullying within 24 hours.
WGN News also learned that legal proceedings are ongoing about the alleged bullying that led to Nate taking his life. The Bronsteins said any compensation awarded in those proceedings would be donated toward their fight to tackle bullying.
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