After putting up yesterday’s more Key West High School 9th grader suicide fallout post, I fell into a very deep nap and had dream experiences unlike anything I’d had before. I awoke knowing in my bones that something very bad had happened at Key West High School, leading up to young Matthew Gelleran taking his own life.
I then went back online and found this email from Steve Murray-Smith, with whom I’d had email correspondence the day before, which was included in yesterday’s post:
Safe Schools South Florida – the kids have carried a section of the Key West Sea to Sea rainbow flag in the Miami Beach Gay Pride parade.
I think it is time to have a program like this here.
Regards, Stephen Murray-Smith
*Florida Keys & Key West
*Florida Keys Mosquito Control, Board of Commissioners
* Board Member, International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association
Great Key West information: www.gaykeywestfl.com
Hi, Steve –
Your email ran off my right-hand margin, so my reply might also. I find by hitting “Reply”, that justifies the right hand margin in that situation.
Have concern for Matthew Gelleran’s tragic death being used to foster a rainbow march/rally. The rainbow flag/march is the gay community’s creation and most people in Key West and the Lower Keys know that. There obviously is deep bigotry in Key West and the Lower Keys, and the bigots very well might react to a rainbow campaign the way blacks might react to a KKK rally on Duval Street. Bigots cannot be won over by demonstrations, and they can be provoked to retaliate.
As I wrote today, people who want to see an end to bullying/hazing in our schools should write to School Board Chairman Andy Griffiths, copying the rest of the School Board members and Superintendent Porter. Imagine the impact on them of receiving hundreds, or thousands, of individual emails.
Andy Griffiths (Andy.Griffiths@keysschools.com) John Dick (John.Dick@keysschools.com) Robin Smith-Martin (Robin.Smith-Martin@KeysSchools.com) Ron Martin (Ron.MartinSB@KeysSchools.com) Capt. Ed Davidson (firstname.lastname@example.org) (School District website not showing Capt. Ed is on the School Board, nor his School Board email address) Mark Porter, Superintendent Mark.Porter@KeysSchools.com
I also feel our new State Attorney should launch an immediate independent investigation, with or without the Gelleran family’s participation/approval, because the welfare/safety of many Key West High School and other students might be at risk.
In that regard, I pulled this today from bigpinekey.com’s Coconut Telegraph:
[Teen Suicide] Our prayers to the Gilleran family. If there is any investigation, it must include the KW High School bullying aspect of this young man’s life. And if bullying is determined to be in the slightest way a contributing cause of his suicide, then the KWPD must arrest, and the county State Attorney must prosecute, to the max, all the students involved in the bullying. Unless of course any of the involved students are Conchs, or best buds with the new State Attorney clan.
It is not sufficient that bullying is determined to be in the slightest way a contributing cause. It must appear beyond a reasonable doubt that bullying was the cause, for a criminal prosecution to morally or legally proceed. However, for that to be determined, there must be an investigation, and the correct person to do that investigation is Cathy Vogel. I am not holding my breath that she will do it, but perhaps if she receives hundreds, or thousands, of individual emails …. email@example.com
It also might help if The Key West Citizen actually digs into this case and reports what it finds. Not holding my breath on that either.
When I can catch up with her, I will ask Naja Girard if she and Arnaud are looking to cover this tragedy in their new/online version of Key West the Newspaper? They have a child who is friends with a sibling of Matthew. I don’t know where Naja and Arnaud are in bringing the new Blue Paper public, but this would be a serious and probably widely read case, if they report on it from time to time.
My hope, as much as possible, how this tragedy is dealt with is taken out of the hands of the School Board and Superintendent Porter. In a small community like Key West, I doubt there is a more powerful force than the court of public opinion. Cathy Vogel, political as she is, despite her campaign rhetoric to the contrary, might be swayed in that courtroom to do a serious independent investigation.
After pressing SEND, I thought to myself that gays need to stand down in this tragedy and let straights take the lead. I remembered reading maybe 25 years ago of Albert Einstein being approached in the late 1930s by Jewish leaders about him speaking to the US Government, on behalf of all Jews, about what was going on in Nazi Germany. Einstein declined, said that cause needed to be carried by non-Jews, which is what ended up happening, although far too late.
I then caught up with Naja Girard by phone. She sounded blown away by former State Attorney Dennis Ward’s damning email about Key West High School and its Principal’s lawlessness, which email was included in yesterday’s post, and is reproduced further along in this post today. I told Naja that the angels were very definite that she and Arnaud need to be involved in what happened to young Matthew at Key West High School. Naja is acutely familiar with the angels giving me information for her. They told me to tell her to keep digging into the question of who owned Wisteria Island. She kept digging, and finally she came up with information that caused the US Government to believe it still owned Wisteria Island. That issue now is being decided in Federal Court, instead of by the Bernstein family, who had believed they owned the island.
Naja and Arnaud have children attending Key West High School, who very well could experience retaliation from other students, school teachers and school officials, if Naja and Arnaud dig up bad stuff and report it in Key West the Newspaper, which contradicts what is coming out of the School District re young Matthew’s suicide. I told Naja that my experience with the angels is they take great delight in and are thrilled to put people on an edge where they are least comfortable; she had my sincere condolences. I said Matthew’s family needs to be respected, but the safety of other Key West High School students, who might very well be at the same risk as Matthew, is more important.
I hope young Matthew’s family can understand and appreciate that. I hope they, too, push for a thorough investigation. I would, if I were them.
After attending last night’s memorial for young Matthew at Key West High School, and standing among lots of weeping students holding each other and coming to tears with them, I imagine there are lots Key West High School students who would very much like to see a thorough investigation. I also imagine there are Key West High School students who will despair if there is no thorough investigation, and who might give up hope for themselves and follow young Matthew’s lead.
Along that same line, an email chain yesterday with new School Board member Capt. Ed Davidson, who for many years has been a strong public watchdog, and not just that, but a sometimes tenacious litigator for the public interests:
Me to Capt. Ed:
Ed, all copies of what I published today and emailed to school board and other district employees were returned. Sometimes that happens with the district’s server.
Dennis Ward made quite critical remarks about Key West High School, and its Principal, reported in today’s post.
Also, when I went to the district’s website this morning, you were not among the school board faces. Duncan was still there.
I earlier sent today’s post to you separately at your aol email address. Here it is again, if you wish to forward it to the other school board members, and to Mark Porter, Ken Gentile, Michael Kinneer.
Thanks for forwarding Dennis Ward’s statement. District server boggled some audit and finance committee mailings in recent days too Capt Ed
Dennis’ statement is damning of KWHS/Amber Bosco.
Subject: Re: bullying and hazing – KWHS student takes own life From: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2013 23:21:27 -0500 To: email@example.com
So many criminal acts occur at KWHS that the general community is unaware of.
We would find out sometimes weeks or months after a criminal incident. I was told on a number of occasions that the principal was instrumental in covering up these acts.
It is time for a change in leadership at that particular school. There needs to be complete transparency in the day to day operation of our schools. When crimes are committed, law enforcement should be notified, and proper reporting procedures need to be followed. School Resource Officers have a sworn duty to investigate and enforce the law. They should not be influenced or intimidated by School Principals. Until this stops we will constantly face these issues.
Sent from my iPad
I hope, Ed, that you will do your own customary no stones left unturned investigation into the events at KWHS leading up to young Matthew’s suicide, and that you are forthcoming with what you learn. I imagine his classmates will be the best sources of information. I don’t imagine there will be a thorough investigation and full forthcoming from anywhere else in the School District.
The privacy wishes of Matthew’s family do not override the very real possibility that other KWHS students are at similar risk.
I then posted Dennis Ward’s email to Facebook. And, I sent it to Keynoter journalist Sean Kinney, who had written an article on this tragedy, and to Keynoter Editor Larry Kahn and Publisher Wayne Markam. And, I sent Dennis’ email to The Citizen Publisher Tom Tuell, and to journalist Gwen Filosa, who had written yesterday’s article in The Citizen, which also parroted the School District’s and Key West High School Principal Amber Bosco’s position:
Nothing happened at Key West High School to push young Matthew to leave school last Friday and go home and shoot himself in the head that night after posting a farewell note to his Facebook friends.
In lawsuits, lawyers, judges and juries wonder about chain of events. They wonder why a well-liked intelligent good student into diverse activities goes to school one day, then he goes home and tells his Facebook friends goodbye and kills himself. They wonder what happened at school that day.
The very first thing Mark Porter and the school board members should have done this past Monday was go to Key West High School and meet with Matthew’s classmates, one at a time, in private, out of the presence and hearing of the other students, Matthew’s teachers, Amber Bosco and other school officials. Porter and the school board members should have given each of those kids a chance to talk freely, in private, off or on the record, as the kids chose. The very last thing Mark Porter and the school board members, and the local newspapers, should have done was let Amber Bosco take the lead in any investigation or in speaking to the press.
Capt. Ed Davidson knows this is true. He has made a “career” out of broiling alive lying miscreant government officials. He knows there needs to be a thorough investigation. What remains to be seen is, will he spearhead it, or will he demand that someone from the outside be brought in to do it? Or, to borrow from Larry Murray, will Capt. Ed follow the school district/school board’s lead and kick that ugly can down the road?
Here is what is being reported in the local newspapers, along with citizen blog reaction to the article in The Key West Citizen. If The Citizen doesn’t like my reproducing their day-old article on this tragedy, they should do better investigating and reporting; or, they can sue me. The Keynoter has not objected to my reproducing their articles on important local issues.
Bullying downplayed in student’s suicide
By SEAN KINNEY
Posted – Wednesday, January 16, 2013 11:02 AM EST
There’s no evidence to suggest bullying or hazing had a factor in the suicide of 14-year-old Key West High School student Matthew Logan Gilleran, says schools Superintendent Mark Porter.
Police spokeswoman Alyson Crean said Gilleran shot himself in the head with an older-model .22-caliber revolver on Friday. The call came in at 4:39 p.m. from 1309 Villa Mill Lane. Gilleran died Sunday morning at a Miami hospital.
Crean said the death is still under investigation and that details such as where Gilleran got the gun and who owns it are still being looked at.
Porter acknowledged reports, spread largely over social media, indicating Gilleran was the subject of abuse by classmates.
“As to any hazing or bullying,” Porter said, “I am aware of speculation in this regard, but I am not aware of any supporting evidence. We continue to work with the family, with due respect to their privacy, in responding to this tragedy.”
Matthew Gilleran was the son of Jim Gilleran, owner of the 801 Bourbon Bar on Duval Street and a member of the Key West Planning Board.
Porter said that counselors were on hand at Key West High School Monday to support grieving students and staff members.
“It is my understanding that the presence of additional counselors was appropriate and that they did spend a considerable amount of time working with students and staff throughout the day,” he said.
“A great deal of credit goes to [Principal] Amber Bosco, her staff and fellow principals, who put together the resources they anticipated would be needed under such challenging circumstances.”
Gilleran was a member of the school’s wrestling team and ROTC, and was planning to go out for track, Bosco said.
“He was described as very upbeat,” she said of Gilleran, adding he was “an active student.”
On the bullying speculation, Archer said: “I have spoken to the family and out of respect to them, we’re trying to get away from discussing what might have been the motivation. The topic of bullying was raised although nothing specific.”
She said Gilleran never complained to school staff about bullying or other harassment.
There’s a candlelight vigil planned for tonight on the Key West High School grounds beginning at 7 p.m. There’s also a memorial service planned for Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Key West Sailing Club off Palm Avenue.
Matthew Gilleran is survived by his father and two brothers, James and Daniel. His mother Catherine died in 2009.
The Monroe County School District was rocked by another suicide when Adri Stewart, the 30-year-old principal of the Key West Collegiate Academy and mother of three, shot herself in the head at a Broward County gun range the day after Christmas.
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Service at school for teen
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff firstname.lastname@example.org
Key West High School students will hold a candlelight memorial service at 7 p.m. in the campus courtyard to honor the 14-year-old freshman boy who died Sunday from a suicidal gunshot to the head.
Matthew Logan Gilleran of Key West shot himself with an older-model .22-caliber handgun Friday afternoon at his home in the 1300 block of Villa Mill Lane, according to police spokeswoman Alyson Crean.
The boy was airlifted from Lower Keys Medical Center to a Miami hospital, where he lingered until dying from the wound Sunday.
Gilleran is the youngest son of Duval Street bar owner and Key West Planning Board member Jim Gilleran, and has two older brothers, Daniel and James.
Key West High opened the week with extra guidance counselors on hand, and a Monday morning moment of silence for the boy.
But as far as an explanation for the child’s suicide by gun, students and community members this week could only speculate. Police officers quickly deemed the death a suicide, saying the boy had left a note behind but not revealing its contents.
“We don’t have any reason why,” said Principal Amber Archer Bosco on Tuesday. “He was an honor student; he was active in school clubs; he was a member of ROTC; he was in the wrestling club and planning to run track. His friends describe him as an upbeat kid. That is the student that we know.”
Asked specifically, Bosco said the school had no reports or record of the boy complaining about any mistreatment by fellow students.
“That’s a topic that has been brought up,” said Bosco, whose school has a student-created and -led group called Stand Up, an anti-bully coalition of teens, which helped plan tonight’s vigil. “There was no incident; nothing with him at all.”
Police officers were summoned after a 4:30 p.m. report to the Old Town home, off United Street, and the scene was cleared by 7 p.m.
Incident reports weren’t available Tuesday, said Crean, who added there was no police investigation given that it was ruled a suicide.
The Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner’s Office said Tuesday that an autopsy was scheduled, per the office’s policy on suicides. Because the teen died in Miami, that office is handling the case.
Tammy Hernandez, the boy’s stepmother, asked for privacy after the father was called for comment.
The family plans a memorial from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Key West Community Sailing Center, 705 Palm Ave. A scholarship fund has been set up at First State Bank in memory of the teen.
“We don’t want flowers,” Hernandez said. “Just donate to the fund, which is for a scholarship.”
Students plan to light candles tonight in the school’s courtyard, 2100 Flagler Ave., and friends of Gilleran’s are expected to speak.
Anyone attending is asked to wear blue and green, the boy’s favorite colors.
Bosco said she was told of the suicide on Friday and monitored the boy’s condition over the weekend.
“We were prepared Monday with extra counselors from area schools on hand,” said Bosco. “We did start the day with a moment of silence to remember him, followed by a statement that we have people available for students to talk to. We’ve been very sensitive.”
From The Citizen Blog re the above article
Submitted on Wed, 01/16/2013 – 5:48pm by ricky
When a Kid shoot himself for been a bullying victim and he die, in wherever other city, the event become a national tragedy but in Key West is a mistery. Why?
Submitted on Wed, 01/16/2013 – 2:35pm by Voltaire Perkins
Need to look into this. I heard from my child, who attends KWHS that bullying was involved. We need answers from the administration at KWHS. This was totally, completely preventable and terrible for the entire community.
Submitted on Wed, 01/16/2013 – 11:12am by Faye
My condolences goes out to the family of this young soul. We need to raise awareness on suicide/depression and recognize the body language, subtle signs (no matter how minute). This Teen probably was silently crying out for help and it was ignored. Can we set aside suicide/depression awareness month; we have one for breast cancer, prostate cancer.
Submitted on Wed, 01/16/2013 – 11:10am by coco
the incident was preventable
Submitted on Wed, 01/16/2013 – 6:21am by NativeConch67
The kid had been bullied by the same group of kids from HOB to KWHS. Ms. Bosco is merely trying to hide the issue.
Submitted on Wed, 01/16/2013 – 5:26pm by *.* CLEARLY the original
After all, if they knew about it, they’d be held accountable, right?
Submitted on Wed, 01/16/2013 – 4:40pm by Exasperated
Why do you always blame her for everything? Are you jealous of her position and her family name?
Submitted on Wed, 01/16/2013 – 2:25pm by Pat2K
This is not something new for Amber. When she was at Poinciana, she constantly turned a blind eye to bullying and I have this from a very reliable source. It’s typical for her though. Look at how she has handled all of the other situations at KWHS. She has absolutely NO idea how to be an administrator, leader, or a good role model. Hopefully, this time, she won’t escape what is due to her. She needs TO GO!
If any student at Key West High School with information, or anyone else with information, reads this post and wishes to contact me knowing I might publish and/or pass along to the authorities what I am told, without disclosing my source’s identity, unless I have permission to disclose it: