Darby Township boy, Bailey O'Neill, dies after school fight

March 5, 2013 5:10:07 AM PST
A 6th grader from the Darby Township School has died, two months since his altercation with another student.

One day after he turned 12 years old this weekend, the parents of Delaware County 6th grader Bailey O'Neill took him off life support.

"No more phone calls from him. No more hanging out. No one to say 'Daddy.' It's the worse feeling," father Rob O'Neill said.

The Darby Township School student was placed into a medically induced coma in January after having violent seizures.

Days before, Bailey's father says he was the victim of a bully and got into a school yard fight suffering a broken nose and concussion.

"He didn't want to fight that day. He wanted to walk away. And that's it. He wanted to walk away. It shouldn't have ever happened," Rob said.

Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan says at the least there could be possible simple assault charges against one of the two students involved.

He's working to find out if bullying was a factor and he's waiting on autopsy results to figure out what killed this seemingly healthy boy.

"I would hate to see anyone rush to judgment before really knowing the complete story of what occurred," Whelan said.

Bailey's story renewed the call for action against bullying.

His father has received support on his Battle for Bailey Facebook page and he's received calls from all over including the Philadelphia Flyers.

Local nonprofit Teach Anti-Bullying says the statistics are staggering but under reported. 34 percent of US students say they've been bullied during school.

"The dialogue has to be collaborative and those key players are your law enforcement in the community, your educators from the school board to the teachers in the classroom and the parents," Caludio V. Cerull of Teach Anti-Bullying said.

The Delaware County District Attorney's Office says it has opened an active criminal investigation.

Southeast Delco School District officials have said the district is cooperating with the investigation.

On Friday, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., there will be a public visitation for Bailey at the Cavanagh Funeral Home in Norwood.

The following is a statement from the Southeast Delco School District:

Dear Southeast Delco School Community,

Late yesterday, we were informed about the death of Bailey O'Neill. Bailey was a sixth grade student at Darby Township School. Our school community is deeply saddened by this loss. Our condolences are with Bailey's family and friends during this very difficult time.

Additional counselors have been made available to assist our students and staff with the emotions around the death of Bailey. The school district continues to work with local authorities in their investigation into the cause of Bailey's death.

During this time, our thoughts and prayers are with Bailey's family and friends.

Stephen D. Butz, Ed.D.