A settlement has been reached between the school district and the parents of a 12-year-old student who committed suicide in 2007 after allegedly being the subject of chronic bullying.
The 12-year-old boy hanged himself in his home on February 22, 2007.
In the lawsuit, his parents alleged that their son had been the victim of both physical and emotional abuse for several years from fellow students and that the school district had been negligent in its training and supervision of employees in regards to bullying.
The victim was born with a cleft palate and underwent several operations to correct this congenital deformity, according to the statement.
Students had bullied him at two different elementary schools, his parents alleged. On one occasion, the parents claimed, students held the boy down and stuffed grass into his surgically repaired lip.
The financial terms were not disclosed. School district officials were not available for comment.
The district has agreed to implement an annual bullying awareness day.
The settlement also mandated that the parent of one of the “bully” students write a letter of apology to the victim’s parents, according to the statement. The lawsuit alleged that parent condoned and encouraged his son’s bullying behavior and that approximately two weeks prior to the victim’s suicide the parent drove to the victim’s house and participated in vandalism there.
Also, the settlement orders that two district administrators undergo additional off-site bullying awareness training.
A trial had been scheduled to begin but the parties agreed on a settlement, which was approved by a federal court judge.
While schoolyard bullying has been around for a long time, the awareness of the terrible consequences has been brought to the public’s consciousness. There are several excellent programs that can teach both students and school staff how to cope with bullying. Perhaps if the school and the student body had exposure to these important and educational programs, such a tragic outcome could have been avoided.
Feel free to comment on this blog post. Contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).