Authorities are investigating whether race was a factor in the shooting. While some residents of the community are reluctant to believe this could be a factor, students who attend Cooperstown High School believe it is not out of the question. They also talk of the bullying some students endure as another factor in what led to the shooting.
A group of teenage students in Cooper Park who said they witnessed the shooting, but asked to remain anonymous, said it was widely known throughout the school that Pacherille had made racist remarks in the past. They said arguments had taken place between the two boys throughout the years they were in school together. The teens said they never took it too seriously because remarks were made verbally and there had never been any physical fighting.
Former CCS student Kayleen Campbell said in a letter to the editor that she has known Pacherille since the fourth grade and if there is anybody who has been discriminated against, it’s him. Campbell said Pacherille has been made fun of countless times and had to suffer a barrage of daily insults for years regarding his heritage and background for “the simple fact that he is Italian.’’
“Tony (Pacherille) never gave anyone a reason to be mean to him, yet people constantly are,’’ said Campbell, who resides in Broomfield, Co.
Campbell, a CCS student for seven years, said bullying will never be reported to the administration, and even if it is, the student who tells will get verbally abused even more for telling.
Phoenix Miller, who graduated from CCS last year, said: ``I have several friends who also needed more support from the teachers or the counselors at school.” ``I believe that the school would rather ignore problems than try to fix them. If anything, the school should focus on seminars for the students so that they can talk or be aware of teasing, racism, and any other subject that young teens may face.’’