When Liam O’ Brien entered 7th grade in September 2016, he was a happy kid who loved riding his bike, eating spicy breakfast sandwiches and watching football with his dad. Today, the 13-year-old is being treated for depression and an eating disorder after he was allegedly bullied mercilessly by his classmates.
Liam’s mother, Deidre, wrote a gut-wrenching Facebook post about the events that she believes landed her son in a Princeton, New Jersey, hospital. The story has since been shared nearly 2,000 times.
According to the registered nurse, the trouble began when Liam made the soccer team.
“As the season ended and winter came, Liam gave me back his iPhone. He said, ‘Too much drama mom,’” wrote Deidre. Then the teen stopped meeting up with friends. “He hung out at home with us. I was happy but I kept asking if anything happened and was everything OK?’” Liam insisted everything was fine and continued playing soccer with his travel team.
“Towards the end of the year, he came home very upset that someone had punched him on the way to the bus at school. Liam said he didn’t know who it was,” Deidre recalled.
That summer, Deidre and her husband noticed that Liam was eating just one meal a day. “I took him to the doctor and he had lost 10lbs since June,” she wrote. Two days later, Liam was admitted to Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Queens, New York.
“He hated it and and said, ‘I will eat, please let me come home,’” Deidre revealed. “I went to bat for him. I thought he really needs to start school with is friends.” So she met with nurses at Garden City Middle School in Garden City, New York, and explained the situation.
“I was told staff would be aware and he would be safe,” Deidre claimed in her post. But then Liam came home with a bruise on his face on September 8 — his birthday.
“I kept asking what happened? He said nothing, he banged it by accident,” Deidre wrote. At Liam’s birthday dinner, he didn’t eat a bite. He lost another five pounds his first week back at school.
Finally, Deidre sat him down and Liam revealed he was bullied and it started when he made the soccer team. “2 kids told him he sucked and he shouldn’t have made the team. There were unnecessary pushes and kicks. He was told he was weird, he was fat, his freckles were weird, his eyebrows were weird,” she alleged. “They used terrible language and called him nasty words. I asked him how often it happened. He looked at me crying and said, ‘Every day Mom.’”
Since sharing Liam’s story, Deidre has been inundated with messages. “There are so many wonderful kids and families that have reached out and shared their experiences with bullying,” she wrote. “Liam is truly a wonderful boy. He is kind and he loves his family. We miss him and want him to be home with us.”
Garden City Middle School told Us Weekly in a statement that the District administration and PTA have met to discuss concerns regarding bullying. “The district has a great number of anti-bullying initiatives in place and spends countless hours in training staff to recognize and prevent such behaviors,” the statement read in part. “We are jointly attempting to further improve upon the resources and programs available to move toward the elimination of all forms of bullying in our schools as quickly as possibly.”
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