NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - Daniel and Maureen Fitzpatrick of Staten Island are denying a report that their son, Danny, 13, committed suicide in part because of their alleged alcohol abuse.
The city's Administration for Children's Services visited the Fitzpatrick home last year to investigate allegations of abuse and maltreatment, but found no evidence of such.
"It's spite. The school accused us of that. That's false. It happened after I started writing letters of complaints," said Maureen Fitzpatrick.
Danny hung himself with a belt in his bedroom on Aug. 11. He was just a few days shy of his 14th birthday.
Family members say he took his life after years of bullying at Holy Angels Catholic Academy in Brooklyn.
"ACS in fact issued a letter saying that all of the charges were unfounded. When you read the note that Daniel left, nowhere does he mention anything about mom or dad drinking. What he specifically mentions over and over again was the bullying he was tormented by in school. We think this is just a smear tactic," said attorney Scott Rynecki.
"He wanted to be heard. He spoke to the principal. He spoke to the teachers. They didn't want to hear his words. They ignored it," said Maureen Fitzpatrick.
"We feel the school and administrators failed to provide a duty that they were obligated to. Possibly, this tragedy could have been avoided," said Rynecki.
The Fitzpatricks claim they asked the school's principal to meet with the parents of the alleged bullies several times, but she refused and recommended therapy for Danny.
"We did all the therapy. They damaged his soul," said Daniel Fitzpatrick.
"We tried everything we could to help our son. I didn't think he would take his life," said Maureen Fitzpatrick.
"There have been people who have reached out to us saying that these schools have done the same to them," said Daniel Fitzpatrick.
"It goes to show the certain power that the lobby has. Those bullying laws have a special section that says they do not apply to religious organizations or religious institutions. They get to slide on any bullying issues," said Rynecki.
A spokesperson from the Diocese of Brooklyn says they're deeply saddened by this tragedy and that their hearts go out to Daniel's family. However, she says there was an anti-bullying program at the school and feels the school did everything in its power to help Daniel.