PHOTO: Parents outraged after Osakis student tied up with hood over head in class

Over the weekend, Dave Rochefort reached out to Fox 9 News to tell us about an alleged bullying incident involving his son that took place last Friday at Osakis High School.

"My 15-year-old son was tied up with his hands behind his back, legs in front, and his hood pulled tightly over his head and tied around the neck," Rochefort wrote. "Just like you see the terrorist group ISIS do to the people they kill."

According to Rochefort, the incident happened during an industrial technology class. A teacher was present in the room while upper classmen tied up his son and whipped him with a cord, but the instructor made no effort to stop the bullies from doing their thing.

The 15-year-old freshman was "forced to sit on the floor for 40 minutes until a fire alarm sounded in the school, and at that time the teacher instructed the four students involved to untie my son so he could exit the building for the fire alarm," Rochefort wrote. "When he was untied my son left the school and ran five blocks to a gas station to call me. I went to the gas station to pick him up from there, went right to the city police and talked to them."

Police went to the school to investigate, Rochefort says, but later got back to him and said any possible disciplinary action would be up to the discretion of Osakis School District administrators.

Reached for comment today, Rochefort says administrators haven't returned his calls. An employee at the district office told Fox 9 this morning that officials are looking into the incident, but referred further questions to Superintendent Joe Broderick, who hadn't yet responded to our message as this is published.

Rochefort says the teacher of the class where the bullying incident allegedly occurred is Osakis City Council member Kyle Kostrzewski. Reached for comment today, Kostrzewski tells us, "Due to child protection laws I can't comment, but I'm on administrative leave while the district is investigating."

Osakis Police Chief Chad Gulbranson wasn't able for comment today, but in an Osakis Review report, he said investigators determined there was nothing criminal about the incident because Rochefort's son was a willing participant.

"As horrible as the picture looks, it was determined that there was nothing criminal involved," Gulbranson said.

But Rochefort doesn't buy it.

Asked if his son is still shaken up about what happened, Rochefort says, "Yeah, he is. He doesn't want to go back to school."

"We're gonna get him into a counselor here," he continues, adding that the family has retained a lawyer and is considering a lawsuit. "This is big, this is serious."

Rochefort says he and his wife, Nicolette, have decided to pull each of their four kids out of Osakis schools. He says his 15-year-old has been a repeated target of bullying at the hands of upperclassmen, and that teachers and administrators have consistently turned a blind eye.

"People out here are so outraged over this, we're not gonna put them in public school until it dies down," Rochefort says. "People are pissed. It's ridiculous, these boys are troublemakers and nobody does anything about them."

Nicolette took to Facebook over the weekend to post a photo of the incident that circulated on Snapchat and express her dismay about how authorities have responded to the incident. Here's the photo she posted, with her caption below.



Bullies did this to my son today at school in a classroom with a teacher present who did nothing about it for 40 minutes. Tied up and on the floor with his hoody [sic] tied sound his face and neck for 40 minutes! Two of the bullies are 18 one is 17 my son is 15. Police say there is no criminal activity here! Apparently it's okay to tie children up in school. Please share and pass on I want all of mn to see this. Bullying policies are NOT working!

As of this morning, Nicolette's post had been shared more than 14,000 times.

:::: UPDATE ::::

Osakis schools Superintendent Superintendent Joe Broderick called us back this afternoon, but, citing data pravacy regulations, didn't say much in response to our questions.

Broderick did confirm that the incident involving Kostrzewski is being investigated by the district, but couldn't provide a timetable of when the results of the investigation will be released.

He also wouldn't comment on the Rocheforts' allegation that their son has been repeatedly bullied.

We also spoke with a part-time custodian at Osakis High School who claims the alleged bullying was a hoax.

Citing his desire to remain employed, the custodian requested we not use his name, but says, "The kids at school have been saying the kid who was tied up was in on it."

The custodian adds that teacher Kyle Kostrzewski was away from his classroom for just a few minutes to tend to an emergency elsewhere in the school -- other sources tell us a fire alarm went off at the time -- and when he returned, the 15-year-old freshman was tied up.

"To be honest it's all a big joke, and a big deal made out of nothing, simply because of the technology age we live in," he says.

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