FT. LAUDERDALE (CBS4) – A year ago on this day, March 17th, two lives were changed forever after a series of text messages reportedly sent a Deerfield Beach teen into an emotional rage.
Josie Lou Ratley was savagely beaten at a school bus loading area in Deerfield Beach.
Marking the day, Ratley’s mother Hilda Gotay said today was a sad say.
“Today is certainly not a day to celebrate any anniversary,” she said. “It is a sad day and a very emotional day. Josie continues to work hard in her recovery, but she still has a long way to go.”
As he skateboarded past Deerfield Middle school where it happened, student Brandon Jeffery said things have improved.
“The school is better, there’s more security,” Jeffrey said.
On March 17, 2010 Ratley, then 15 years old, was thrown on the ground and kicked in the head.
Later the accused assailant, Wayne Treacy would say he snapped over a text message he believed Ratley had sent him about his brother’s suicide.
Ratley suffered brain damage and spent weeks in the hospital. She continues to received therapy and has had to re-learn to speak and write.
In the year since her beating, the Broward school district has stepped up security. They’ve also taken steps to curb bullying.
This year every school must implement a prevention liasion to address acts of violence
and school safety.
There have been anti-bullying sessions for students.
We spoke with a former Deerfield High School student who says the sessions work.
Jonathan Oliveria says his cousin has been a victim of bullying and after attending one of the sessions
he noticed a change.
“There were people he connected with,” he said.
But cyberbullying remains a serious problem says Deerfield Beach high junior Andrea Carreiro.
“There are kids who are violent and will take it up after school,” Carreiro said. “If we talk about it, maybe we can stop it.”
Wayne Treacy remains in jail awaiting trial on attempted murder charges.
He is suing the district saying they are not offering him adequate education instruction.
Radley never returned to Deerfield Middle. In fact, she no longer lives in this city. Wayne Treacy is in jail and has yet to go to trial for what he’s accused of doing to her on this campus a year ago.