Violence Not New at Bluffton School - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

03/09/05

Violence Not New at Bluffton School

Today's clash at McCracken Middle School in Bluffton hits very close to home in the community, especially since just two years ago one student lost his life because of unnecessary school violence.

It's the story of 14-year-old boy who just wanted to fit in. It was Francisco Bellman's first day at HE McCracken Middle School. He and two other students went into the bathroom. They were going to initiate Bellman into a group called the Latin Mafia.

The two boys beat Bellman so badly, punching him in the chest, that his heart stopped. For the next month, he lay comatose in the hospital until his family took him off life support and brought him home.

The community was outraged. Some were even afraid to send their kids to school. "I'm really angry about it," said parent Jannett Jackson. "No child should go through that. No child should be afraid to go to school."

Bellman died of pneumonia soon after his parents brought him home from the hospital.

Both teens charged with his death plead guilty last March to involuntary manslaughter. Both boys involved were sentenced to probation until they turn 21.

Reported by: Hena Daniels, hdaniels@wtoc.com

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