Mother Settles With School District Over Bullied Son's Suicide
The mother of a teenager who committed suicide after enduring antigay bullying at school has reached a settlement in her lawsuit against her son's school district.
Wendy Walsh, the mother of Seth Walsh, accepted a settlement of $750,000 in her lawsuit against the Tehachapi Unified School District in central California, near Bakersfield, The Bakersfield Californian reports. She initially sought $6 million in "compensation for wrongful-death and punitive damages as well as medical expenses," according to the Californian, but took the smaller amount to avoid the trauma of going to trial. The settlement was reached in March but not made public until this week.
Walsh was 13 at the time he committed suicide in 2010. Months after his death, in response to a civil rights complaint by his mother, federal education officials launched an investigation into the school district, and they concluded that school officials "did not adequately investigate or otherwise respond" to the bullying.
In 2011 a state law was passed requiring schools to create policies for addressing incidents of bullying, and it went into effect in 2012.
Anyone struggling with harassment, depression, self-harm, or thoughts of suicide should reach out to support networks like The Trevor Project, which offers a free, confidential 24-hour hotline for LGBT youth. The Trevor Lifeline is available at 1-866-488-7386. Others may want to reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 1-800-273-8255 for free, confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.