U.S. Senate Candidate Nardolillo’s Daughter Investigated for Bullying, He Says Girls Being Girls
Monday, May 15, 2017
In April 2017, the Rhode Island State Police reviewed the case of bullying by State Representative Bobby Nardolillo’s daughter.
According to Matthew and Elaine Almeida, the "relentless" bullying has gone on for months, forcing them to remove their child from school and file complaints with the Coventry Police Department and Rhode Island State Police.
All of this, they say, after repeatedly reaching out to Nardolillo and his wife - with no response.
Nardolillo's "Anti-Bullying" Stance
Last week, Nardolillo, who is announcing his candidacy for United States Senator on Monday, launched “Bow Ties Against Bullying” and claimed in his press release that it was a "great way to show Rhode Island and Rhode Island teenagers, that lawmakers are united in combating bullying, which unnecessarily claims lives. One life lost, is too many.”
Nardolillo’s anti-bully campaign was the last straw for the Almeidas. For the family who said their daughter had gone from a good student to one experiencing depression, counseling and homeschooling, Nardolillo’s anti-bullying claim not only rang hollow, but was cruelly hypocritical.
In one text Mr. Almeida sent to Nardolillo in February, he wrote, “Bobby, I reached out to you with respect, your zero response to this message shows me the respect is not mutual! I do understand you're a busy guy! So am I! Every single day it's something new with your daughter making mine feel like complete shit! By bullying and harassing my daughter! And it has been witnessed by an adult on more than one occasion!"
"We had to take my daughter out of school today, because emotionally due to your daughter bullying and harassment! I have had enough of this! Please do your part and make it clear to (Nardolillo daughter’s name) she is not to continue to bullying or emotionally harm my daughter ever again! It's not going to be tolerated anymore! I would hope if our roles were reversed you could feel my pain as a father. (Nardolillo daughter’s name) did mention to my daughter she was shown my past messages, so she should realize what she is doing is wrong and not a good thing, and can carry some serious consequences if it goes to far for both of them! Thanks for your time in this matter.”
Nardolillo did not respond to the text, said Mr. Almeida, despite it being sent twice, on January 29 and again on February 3, 2017. Mrs. Almeida explained that they assumed Nardolillo did not receive the first copy, because there was no response, so they sent the second.
In another text, Mrs. Almeida appealed to Mrs. Nardolillo for help, "(Our daughter) has been bullied on the phone/computer and verbally at school by your daughter and now is afraid to go to school! Clearly my husband's text to Bobby did not work! As an ex-public and private Catholic school teacher I'm aware of what this does to a child's self esteem!!! If this does not stop by Monday I'm going to the state police and other agencies to have this stopped! As a parent I know you would do the same to protect your daughter! This is heartbreaking!!! I hope I have your assurance that she will stop this bullying today!"
For the Almeida family, the bullying is just one more challenge. Mr. Almeida served five years in the United States Marines in Afghanistan and Iraq. The lining of his esophagus was eaten away after a Iraqi contractor provided him and others with contaminated water then they first were deployed in Iraq. He is sixty-percent disabled and has numerous health issues tied to the incident.
In an interview with GoLocalProv on Sunday night, Nardolillo said he did not want to get into a back-and-forth with another parent and reached out to the school.
“The girls were friends and then they weren’t friends. My daughter was one of many girls involved. I can’t get involved,” said Nardolillo. "They are making dramatics of the situation…whatever. They are just kids. I can’t discipline her (his daughter) for an opinion.”
Nardolillo said if the bullying claims were checked with the Assistant Principal at Alan Shawn Feinstein Middle School of Coventry, she would say that the story is a "she said, she said."
GoLocal did speak to Coventry Schools Superintendent Craig Levis who said that, "Pursuant to federal law, I cannot discuss any issue regarding a student without a release from the family."
Starting in 2015
According to the Almeidas, the bullying started in the fall of 2015 when the Almeida and Nardolillo girls were friends, but even during that period, the Nardolillo daughter wrote an apology note which said, "I am sorry I called you a baby on the phone and I am sorry that I was mean to you." The Almeidas said that episode was just the beginning and the bullying, harassment and physical episodes only increased.
The event continued until the Almeida’s went to the Rhode Island State Police. According to the Almeidas, school officials issued a “stay away” order, but the Nardolillo daughter repeatedly violated them and no further actions were taken by the school. The State Police report states that the “stay away” directive was ordered by the school and the Almeida family says the order was violated six different times.
But when asked if the Coventry School Department’s “stay away” order was an indication that the situation was serious, Nardolillo said, “No comment.”
The Almeidas told GoLocal that school officials told their daughter to delete the texts from Nardolillo’s daughter and seemed unwilling to take action against Nardolillo because of his position at the State House.
According to Rhode Island Department of Education regulations and the Coventry School Department's “Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying” Policy, the school department never took further action against the Nardolillo daughter despite repeated requests by the Almeidas.
“Maybe the fact that they are 11 and 12 year old girls and they are on and again friends. Last year they were friends. I am not going to say there was bullying - it's my word against their words,” said Nardolillo.
For the Almeida’s, the experience has been traumatic. “The hypocrisy is unbelievable and his arrogance with no remorse! No apology made or even offered in writing. No offer to help make things right. My daughter is damaged for life emotionally as are our entire family. We are now trying to figure out how we are going to pay for online school (now that I'm not working anymore) home with our daughter trying to put her back together emotionally and the medical bills past present and future,” said Mrs. Almeida.
“My daughter is afraid every time we leave our house. Who knows how long she will be in therapy and when the PTSD will end. Never once did Bobby or his wife say what can we do to help! Their daughter destroyed our lives and my daughter had her whole world change over night. She is forever changed because of this.”
Mrs. Almeida’s claim of PTSD is supported by Dr. Thomas David Puleo, who diagnosed Almeida’s daughter as suffering from Post Traumatic Syndrome from bullying.
"I responded to the school and it is conflicted. One parent is going to say one thing and another parent is going to ask another," said Nardolillo.
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