Northwest Local BOE President’s son involved in alleged bullying of student with special needs

Published: May. 1, 2023 at 11:04 PM EDT
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CANAL FULTON, Ohio (WOIO) - The Canal Fulton Police Chief said their school resource officer just wrapped up an investigation into the alleged harassment of a student with special needs by two Northwest High School students.

The police chief said criminal charges are forthcoming against both students.

19 News spoke with the father of one of the alleged bullies who also happens to be the President of the Northwest Local Board of Education.

“Our son was one of the students involved made a very stupid mistake,” said Victor Colaianni. “Two minutes of stupidity has turned into an atomic bomb.”

Colaianni may be the school board president, but he spoke with 19 News as a father. He is the father of a 16-year-old sophomore, who he admits took part in the bullying of a freshman student with special needs.

“Taking a lot of heat on social media rightfully so,” he said. “He really regrets his decision obviously.”

19 News learned that two students encouraged the student to remove his own feces from the toilet with his hands and while he did that the students laughed and took a video, later sharing it on social media. Colaianni said the incident was out of character for his son.

“There’s other special needs students in the school that he’s friends with and actually has stuck up for them in the past so it was really shocking to my wife and I that this actually happened,” he said.

The Canal Fulton Police Chief Sarah Wilson said their school resource officer worked with Stark County Juvenile Court prosecutors to determine the appropriate criminal charges for the two students.

“We kind of knew it was gonna happen we just didn’t know when or when it was gonna come out, but we fully support that,” the father said.

Colaianni said he did reach out to the student’s family and asked for a time to meet with them so his son can apologize face to face.

He said he’s not sure when his son will return to school for safety reasons.

“Not threats directly as far as verbal but on social media there’s been a few,” he said. “Disappointingly some of it has come from adults.”

Colaianni said he reached out to GiGi’s Playhouse, a non-profit that helps people with down-syndrome. He said he’s meeting with the director this week to come up with a plan to better educate students and he is also hoping his son will be able to do some volunteer work there.