WEST HAVEN — A West Haven mother is gaining national attention after she penned a powerful Facebook post aimed at the classmates who bully her son. Her message: You never know what someone has gone through.
MaryAnn Parisi said she suspected her 11-year-old son Michael was being bullied, but on Monday was alerted by one of his teachers that it had escalated. That’s when she wrote the post explaining Michael’s story and challenging others to think before they judge.
Michael was born over 3 months premature and “spent the first 3 months of his life fighting to survive.” Due to several medical issues, his development was delayed.
“He didn’t learn to talk till he was 3 years old. Walking was very delayed. He didn’t have teeth till after his first birthday. He was so very behind. But he loved,” Parisi writes.
She talks about the steps he’s taking to correct his teeth and an underdeveloped jaw, but that led to more bullying.
“Kicking his chair, calling him stupid, ugly, brace face, bucky beaver. Telling him to sit down and shut up is not the way. You don’t have to like him, but you do have to respect him,” she wrote. “He’s a fighter, that’s a very small portion of his story.”
Parisi said her son forgives and forgets easily, but that doesn’t make it okay. “He is most definitely resilient, but he was definitely bothered. There were tears and sadness. While he is amazing in his resiliency, in the end, he is still a young boy with very hurt feelings,” Parisi told FOX 61.
She is surprised and thankful her post has received so much attention in such a short time and hopes that her message makes a difference.
“My post is definitely getting the reaction I had hoped and then some,” Parisi said. “It is overwhelming, but necessary. Any form of bullying is not ok, if this helps in some small or large way, then it has done so much more than allowing an angry and hurt mom vent.”