Ocala, Florida — On April 4, 2014 Deputy Simpson responded to Hammett Bowen Elementary school in reference to a disturbance on campus created by a parent of one of the students.
The principal of the school, Leanna Dixon, told Deputy Simpson that suspect Daniel Pedalino was at the school to have lunch with his daughter.
According to reports, while at the school, Pedalino’s daughter pointed out several students that had been bullying her to her father.
A witness said she saw Pedalino exit the stage where parents eat lunch with their children and approach the table where the other children were sitting.
The witness said Pedalino then said to the kids, “If you mess with my daughter, I will hunt you down.” The witness said she then approached Pedalino and told him he had to leave immediately, and that he could not talk to the children that way.
The witness said Pedalino then apologized to her and then turned to the children sitting at the table and said, “I will fu**ing hunt you down,” and then left the school.
According to reports, one of the children told Deputy Simpson that Pedalino’s daughter was being bullied. The child said that students always tell the girl she is fat and call her a monkey. The child said he did not hear what Pedalino said to the other children at the table.
Other children had different versions of what Pedalino actually said while addressing the table, according to reports.
Deputy Simpson met up with Pedalino at his home after leaving the school.
Pedalino told the deputy that his daughter as well as several other girls at the school are being bullied by the same group of boys.
Pedalino admitted to speaking with the children at the table and telling them to leave his daughter and the other girls alone, but denies that he ever said he was going to “hunt them down.”
Ocala Post was contacted by two parents whose child formally attended Hammett Bowen. Both parents told Ocala Post that they do not want their names released.
They told Ocala Post that their son was being bullied at Hammett Bownen to the point of being physically ill and not wanting to attend school in the mornings.
“He was being bullied by a large group of black kids,” they said. “The kids would spit in his food, put their fingers in it, call him a white fat fag and often times they called him a d**k sucker.”
“Many times he went without eating lunch,” they said.
They said that they went to the school as well as e-mailed teachers, but nothing was ever done about the situation. They said that when their son became withdrawn and un-focused in school, the school actually started placing blame on their son.
“We eventually pulled our son out of the school,” they said. “When he began to stop eating breakfast and cry in the morning we knew enough was enough.”
According to the parents, they began to home school their son. They said approximately 10 days after they withdrew him from public school two school officials from Hammett Bowen showed up at their doorstep. They said the school officials told them that they didn’t have the right to remove their son from school and home school him. They also said that the school officials demanded to speak with their son, but they refused.
“We told the officials why we were home schooling and about all of the bullying…but they didn’t seem to care,” they said. “We told them that while we were in car line at the school we had actually witnessed a horrible bullying incident.. but again, they didn’t care.”
“After about 10 to 15 minutes of arguing, I threw them off of my property, “the father said. “Our son has been in private school ever since.”
Ocala Post is awaiting an interview with Pedalino, however, we were able to speak his wife, Annemarie Pedalino.
Annemarie said, “We did go to the school about my daughter being bullied and the school acted as if it was just kids being kids.”
“My husband has been very active in anti-bullying and it is sad that it came to this.”
Annemarie said that her daughter was being called fat, monkey, as well as other names on a daily basis. She also said that there was an incident in which one of the bullies spit on her daughters desk.
Annemarie said she in no way feels it is a racial issue, but said it is a group of black kids that has been bullying her daughter. “I feel it is a lack of parenting on the other parents part, “she said. Adding, “My daughter is traumatized after being bullied non-stop, and the school is responsible for protecting her.”
“The school clearly mishandled this entire situation,” Annemarie said. “My husband was just a father being a father, and the situation got out of hand.”
Pedalino was charged with Disturbing Peace-Interfere with School Administration Functions and Simple Assault-Intent Threat to do Violence (X4).
Ocala Post reached out to the school board via e-mail, but a response was not immediately received.