NAPLES, Fla- Just days after a judge cleared a teenager of manslaughter, those close to the case speak to WINK News about the ruling.
15-year-old Rafel Rottiers is a sophomore at Palmetto Ridge High School. He was a freshman when Jorge Saavedra stabbed Dylan Nuno to death in January of last year.
Rottiers was riding the bus the day of the tragedy. He gets off at 47th Ave. NE in Golden Gate Estates near Immokolee Rd., where the boys got off that day.
He says he saw the entire fight from his driveway, just a few houses down from where it happened.
Saavedra was granted immunity Friday by Judge Lauren Brodie. Brodie ruled Saavedra was standing his ground, because he tried to avoid Nuno's advances multiple times and was under threat of great harm.
Rottiers heard the news when the order was made public Tuesday. He says he was with a group of friends who were also riding the bus with Saavedra and Nuno.
"It kind of like shocked me...he still killed him," Rottiers said.
Jorge Saavedra has maintained he was a victim of bullying.
"There's a lot of fights with bullies, especially with the Jorge Saavedra and Dylan. I see a lot of kids commit suicide because of that," Rottiers said.
Saavedra's defense attorney Donald Day says what happened on January 24, 2011 is a tragedy that will stay with the Saavedra family the rest of their lives.
Day says he's hopeful that some good will come out of this somber example.
"I think around the country we're more aware of what's happening but for some reason the violence seems to be escalating and there is a real need for the schools to become more proactive in stopping these types of incidents before they occur," Day said.
The Collier County school district has a bullying and harrassment policy that defines bullying as something that, "places a student or school employee in reasonable fear of harm to his/her person or damage to his/her property."
The bylaws and policies also state, "The school district upholds that bullying or harassment of any student or school employee is prohibited on a school bus of a public K-12 educational institution."
However, the policy also says formal disciplinary action can not be made on anonymous reports.
Rottiers says many instances go unreported, because students feel intimidated.
"It's pretty scary because, like, they think you're a snitch and stuff like that," Rottiers said.
WINK News spoke with a representative for Collier County Schools who says the district is looking into the judge's order.
In response to questions raised over bullying, they issued this statement:
"Our bullying policy is aligned with the state statute and Department of Education regulations. Therefore, there would be no reason to change our policy."