Mother of Suicide Sues School for Allegedly Ignoring Bullying

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Tuesday November 29, 2011

An Indiana mother is filing a lawsuit in federal court against her deceased son's junior high and high school. Natalie Moore claims that the schools' officials ignored reports her son made for bullying, which she believes led to his suicide, the Indy Star reported in a Nov. 28, article.

Moore says her son, Jamarcus Bell, was constantly teased for his race and bullied for "perceived homosexuality and emotional disability" while he attended Hamilton Southeastern Junior High and High School.

"Administrators, teachers and staff members of HSE knew of or should have known of these incidents," the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit, filed on Nov. 21, in the U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, states that Bell was the victim of "constant and ruthless harassment and bullying from other students." Bell's classmates allegedly threw metal at him during welding class, stole his shoes and physically attacked him.

Bell took his own life on Oct. 20, 2010, at his mother's home during school break. The student tried to hang himself in a janitor's closet at the school earlier that year.

Moore's lawyers say that it is the schools' teachers and administration fault for Bell's suicide, since they did not do anything to stop the bullying during the several months Bell was harassed.

EDGE reported in an Oct. 17 article that a 15-year-old Canadian boy killed himself within a few days of Bell after being bullied for being gay. Jamie Hubley documented the last month of his life on Tumblr.

"I wish I could be happy, I try, I try, I try ... I just want to feel special to someone," Hubley wrote.

"I hate being the only open gay guy in my school," Jamie wrote. "It fucking sucks, I really want to end it." Jamie also wrote about being harassed by his classmates who yelled anti-gay epithets at him.

In the past year, bullying in high schools and even in college has gained the media's attention. There have been a number of campaigns and organizations to prevent the suicide of teens in the LGBT community. The "It Gets Better Project" was founded in response to the suicides of teenagers who were bullied because they were gay or because their classmates thought they were gay. The goal of the campaign is to have gay adults inform LGBT youth that their lives will improve.

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