Last week, a thirteen year-old Georgia middle school student took his own
life after being bullied by classmates for over six months. The boy’s
parents stated that they approached school officials regarding their son’s
predicament, but that their concerns were quickly dismissed.
The severity of the bullying experienced by the boy escalated shortly before
he took his own life. Just a few days prior to the incident, the boy witnessed
a classmate who was in possession of a butcher knife, state that she intended
to stab one of the school teachers. The boy reported his classmate’s
statements to school personnel. When students learned that he was responsible
for informing school security, they began calling him a snitch. The boy
told his parents that about 20 students threatened to jump him. The boy
took his own life soon after.
According to news reports, this tragedy has shed light on serious bullying
issues that may be going on in Georgia schools. As parents and students
learned about the boy’s abuse at the hands of his classmates, and
eventual suicide, they’ve begun to share their own bullying experiences.
Their stories suggest that serious bullying may not be uncommon in Georgia schools.
BULLYING IS A NATIONWIDE EPIDEMIC WITH LIFE THREATENING CONSEQUENCES
Statistics show that over three million students are victims of bullying every year.
This amounts to one out of every seven students.
Signs that your child may be a victim of bullying are:
•Withdrawn, depressed behavior;
•Reluctance and fear of going to school and of other children;
•Decline in school performance;
•Lowered self-esteem or self-image;
•Signs of physical altercations, such as bruises, scrapes and other marks.
Surveys indicate that students believe that adult help against bullying
is ineffective and infrequent. As such, victims of bullying resort to
taking the matter into their own hands. A study conducted by Yale University
found that victims of bullying are between 2 and 9 times more likely to
consider suicide. At least half of all suicides amongst young people are
related to bullying.
WRONGFUL DEATH SUITS HOLD SCHOOLS RESPONSIBLE FOR TEEN SUICIDES RESULTING
Schools are responsible for ensuring that all students can learn in a safe
environment. As such, if school officials knew or should have known about
bullying and failed to take steps to resolve the issue, they may be liable
for the verbal and physical abuse, as well as, consequences that result
from the abusive conduct. In an unfortunate circumstance where a student
commits suicide due to the bullying endured at school, a wrongful death
suit can hold the school system accountable for their failure to provide
a safe learning environment.
If your child has taken their life as a result of bullying, please accept
out sincerest condolences. Contacting an Atlanta injury attorney to discuss
filing a wrongful death suit may help prevent this tragedy from happening
to someone else’s child. By holding the school system accountable,
you can bring attention to the dangers of bullying and encourage school
systems to establish protocols and standards for dealing with this issue.