Wednesday, January 14, 2015

15-Year-Old Bullying Suicide Victim’s Family Sues School

          15-Year-Old Bullying Suicide Victim's Family Sues School 

           Bullying in our schools has become a national epidemic. The cruelest place in the world is the playground and, with the explosion of social media, kids can’t even find a safe haven at home. It happens every day and knows no geographic, demographic or socioeconomic boundaries.

            In some cases, the relentless name-calling, taunting, threats, ridicule and harassment turns physical—with victims being tripped, pushed and hit. Bullying instills fear, anxiety and depression in its victims—sometimes with tragic consequences. We’ve all seen cases in the news where children were driven to take their own lives—“bullycide.”

            Schools have a duty to protect your child from bullying, but too often they look the other way or downplay it: “Kids will be kids.”

            Attorney Thomas Blessing has some experience in representing victims and their parents to find justice. In fact, Thomas Blessing represented the mother of the bullying victim in a lawsuit against Greensburg Community Schools after, a then 15-year-old student, Billy Lucas, was discovered deceased in his family's barn from apparent suicide. 

           The wrongful death lawsuit was filed by Thomas Blessing, (Attorney with Hollingsworth & Zivitz) and claims Lucas was a target for bullying because of several personal characteristics, including his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), his ethnicity and his perceived sexual orientation. The suit implicates... To read the full story, click here. 

            Mr. Blessing goes on to explain that it was not just the kids who caused the victim to feel bullied, saying “the peers ridiculing him and harassing him was bad enough, but when the teachers stood there and let it happen when it occurred physically in their presence, they would say things or make comments as well,” To read more click here.  He went on to say that "to the extended the school let him be subjected to this kind of torment is inexcusable. The school violated the law by not taking steps to protect him. Read more here. 

            Mr. Blessing "is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorney fees and other costs associated with the lawsuit." on behalf of the victim's mother. To Read more click here

            The news of Billy's death was the catalyst that prompted nationally syndicated columnist Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller, both victims of bullying themselves, to launch a project titled "It Gets Better." To read more about this story click here

To read a copy of the lawsuit, click here

            Thomas Blessing was interviewed by WISH TV Channel 8 regarding the lawsuit against the school district. To see the full interview, click here. 

            If your child is being bullied at school, the Indiana education attorneys of Hollingsworth & Zivitz may be able to help. Over the years we have represented several children who have been bullied, assaulted or sexually harassed at school. If you believe your child is a victim of bullying, contact a member of our Education Law team at 317/569-2200 or visit

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