Mother Sues School District Following Daughter’s Suicide

The mother of a bullied middle-school teen, Rebecca Sedwick, filed a lawsuit Monday against the Polk County School Board and one of the students whose abuse allegedly led to Rebecca’s suicide.

Another defendant also named in the lawsuit is CEMEX Construction Materials Florida, owner of the cement plant where the 12-year-old Lakeland, Florida girl jumped to her death on September 10, 2013.

Tricia Norman, Rebecca’s mother, alleges in the lawsuit that the Polk County School District failed to provide adequate supervision and failed to properly discipline Rebecca’s main tormentor, identified as “G.S.” during the 2012-2013 school year. The lawsuit accuses G.S. of intentional infliction of emotional distress, as well as alleging that G.S. planned a physical assault on Sedwick.

In addition, the suit alleges that CEMEX was negligent in allowing Rebecca to access its abandoned plant. According to the lawsuit, the owner of the cement plant did not properly maintain its grounds “so as to reasonably secure dangerous aspects of the property from use by known minor trespassers.”

The lawsuit alleges that the school board did not provide a “setting that was safe, secure, and free from harassment.” It also says the school board did not properly discipline an alleged bully.

Norman contends that her daughter was bullied at Crystal Lake Middle School and via the Internet for one year before she killed herself. The suit seeks damages in excess of $15,000, the minimum amount required for a case to be heard in circuit court.

In November, prosecutors dropped criminal charges of felony aggravated stalking against two other girls who were alleged to have bullied Rebecca, because of insufficient evidence.

Sedwick’s mother held a news conference Monday afternoon stating that the district should have done more to protect her daughter and they ignored her complaints.

School should be a safe haven, free from harassment and bullying. Students should feel protected while at school and parents should have peace of mind that their children are safe at school each day. Especially when complaints go unanswered. Feel free to comment on this blog post. If you or a loved one has been a victim of harassment, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. Contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).

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