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Sad Reminder of Why We Have Anti-Bullying Laws

Parents sue Ohio school over bullied son’s suicide

Associated Press; Fri Apr 3, 11:48 am ET

MENTOR, Ohio – An Ohio couple has filed a lawsuit saying school officials failed to stop bullying that they claim led to their 17-year-old son’s suicide.

The suit was filed in federal court last week, almost two years to the day when Eric Mohat shot himself in the head. Parents William and Janis Mohat say their son was taunted and harassed by classmates at Mentor High School for months before his death on March 27, 2007.

Their lawsuit accuses the school district about 25 miles northeast of Cleveland of violating the high school junior’s civil right to safety.

The teen’s father says they would drop the suit if the school system adopted tougher regulations on bullying.

Without commenting on the litigation, school officials say the district takes bullying seriously.

Yahoo News

While we don’t know the whole story, we can at least read between the lines in this story to see the pain and loss felt by the family and their belief that the school system could have done more to help their child when he was being bullied by his classmates.  In the wake of recent amendments to Connecticut’s anti-bullying statutes and the resulting changes to board policies across the state, we continue to parse the language to determine whether an act of insult by one student against another constitutes “bullying” such that it needs to be “verified” and the parents of both parties need to be “notified”.  While we are doing this, let’s not forget that whether it meets the technical definition of bullying under the statute and board policy or not, the act has caused emotional hurt to someone and needs to be addressed in some way so that the child can come to school and learn in a welcoming environment.