Bullied teen wins settlement against Farmingdale School District

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (WABC) -- A teen was bullied over and over again for years.

Now he's talking exclusively to Eyewitness News about what he went through and thought about.

The Farmingdale School District on Long Island is paying that teenager because of a lawsuit claiming it didn't do enough to protect the teen.

"Every day, I have flashbacks of myself trying to commit suicide," said Austin Schneiderman, 16 years old.

16-year-old Austin Schneiderman still vividly recalls the worst three years of his life, at the Welden Howitt Middle School in Farmingdale.

6th grade he says he endured name calling every single day on his school bus.

"So you went a whole year being verbally abused?" Eyewitness News reporter Stacey Sager asked.

"Yes," Austin said.

"Without telling a soul?" Sager asked.

"Yes," Austin said.

By 7th grade he got a black eye.

"Bus driver do anything?" Sager asked.

"No," Austin said.

"Not a thing?" Sager asked.

"No," Austin said.

And by 8th grade it got far worse.

"I got punched in the abdomen, really hard, to where I had like, blood in my urine," Austin said.

The emotional trauma was taking a toll.

"At home, I saw my son start to decline, to someone I didn't even know anymore," said Eileen Schneiderman, Austin's mother.

"It got to the point where if a teacher called on me, even just sitting down, I would just have a nervous breakdown, turn red, and then I'd get bullied again,"
Austin said.

In the winter of 2011, Austin tried to kill himself.

"The belt that he used to hang himself was still hanging from the pole," Eileen said.

Austin was hospitalized and then, received therapy, but his family sued.

Austin kept a journal for his 8th grade English class, where an entry was a letter to one of his bullies. The written comment from his teacher said, "I'm sorry you went through this."

There was no follow up until an entry two months later which said "thoughts were suicide."

But that was after more than a year and a half of begging for help.

The take away from this situation: "I do think that some school districts are changing things, but not enough," said Neal Goldstein, the Schneiderman Family's Attorney.

"Are you confident Farmingdale is fixing this problem?" Sager asked.

"No," Austin said.

"You're worried about other kids?" Sager asked.

"Yes," Austin said.
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