The family of a 16-year-old boy with Asperger’s syndrome who killed himself because he was the victim of school bullying, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Chino Valley High School District. According to an NBC Los Angeles news report, the teen, Kennedy LeRoy, left behind a powerful note, a message to the boy who allegedly bullied him and all other bullies about the potentially lethal consequences of their actions. The lawsuit against the school district accuses school administrators of failing to protect the boy from who they said was a relentless bully who made fun of Kennedy’s sexuality.
Lack of Action from School?
The lawsuit, filed 10 months after Kennedy’s suicide, also names the parents of the boy who allegedly bullied Kennedy. The lawsuit alleges that school officials should have stepped in and removed the bully from Kennedy’s class. However, an attorney for the school district said Kennedy and the other boy signed a no contact contract barring them from interacting with one another and that school officials conducted a thorough and reasonable investigation into the matter.
Our hearts go out not only to Kennedy LeRoy’s family, but also many other children in California and elsewhere who are facing his problem on a daily basis.
School Bullying and Suicide
Studies have shown a strong link between school bullying and suicide. Though many adults see bullying as “just a part of being a kid,” it can be a serious problem. The statistics on bullying and suicide are alarming. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people resulting in about 4,400 deaths a year.
For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts. Also, victims of school bullying are between two to nine times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, a Yale University study shows. Nearly 30 percent of students are either bullies or victims of bullying and nearly 160,000 children stay home from school every day in the U.S. because of bullying.
What Can Parents Do?
• Take all threats of suicide seriously. Get help immediately.
• Keep weapons and medications away from the reach of a child who is at risk for suicide.
• Encourage your child to talk about bullying that takes place. Show them love and support.
• Be a part of your child’s social networking sites so you can see if someone is bullying your child online.
• If you observe a problem, talk to school authorities. California has anti-bullying laws in place.
• Contact a California school bullying lawyer to obtain more information about protecting your child’s rights.