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Ind. Mother Sues School Over Son's Suicide

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on November 29, 2011 5:58 AM

Indiana woman Natalie Moore is filing a lawsuit over her son's bullying suicide. The lawsuit claims that instructors and administrators at the Hamilton Southeastern Junior High and High School did not do enough to stop bullying incidents. She says that they ignored the fact that her son, Jamarcus Bell, was constantly harassed at school for his "perceived homosexuality and emotional disability."

Bell had previously tried to hang himself in a janitor's closet at the junior high school. In 2010, he killed himself at his mother's home.

Moore's lawsuit is a wrongful death claim. To succeed, she will likely have to demonstrate that her son died either because the school intended to cause harm or was negligent.

It appears that Moore is alleging that the school was negligent. In her suit, she claims that officials didn't do enough to help her son. The lawsuit says that his teachers and administrators knew or should have known about the incidents of bullying, reports The Indianapolis Star.

Moore will also have to show that the bullying is what ultimately led to Bell's suicide. In a negligence case, there must be a causal connection between the defendant's conduct and the resulting harm.

Moore's complaint spells out the troubles that her son faced. Bell suffered through various forms of bullying. Some students physically assaulted him, stole his personal belongings, and threw items at him during class.

If the school had bullying policies and failed to enforce them even though Bell was being harassed, they could be found liable. Many states have now passed laws that specifically target bullying, which require schools to have regulations in place that address these types of situations.

Natalie Moore's lawsuit is not the first to be filed over a bullying suicide. Parents of other troubled students have filed claims in the past.

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