A New York woman whose seventh-grade son committed suicide a year
ago after being bullied by schoolmates is suing the city, alleging
nothing was done to stop the abuse.
“No child should be afraid to go to school,” said Bergouhi Elissa, 36, of Queens, whose son, Elijah Mendez, was repeatedly taunted by students at Public School 84 despite more than 10 requests that administrators step in to help. “I believe that the school’s inaction brought about the death of my son.”
In March of 2010, 12-year-old Elijah hanged himself in his family’s home.
According to the lawsuit, the boy had been subjected to “repeated and frequent taunting, ridicule, menacing, threatening abuse, and bullying,” suffering “physical and psychological injuries” because of his “perceived sexual orientation.”
Elissa, who says the abuse began when Elijah was in fifth grade, is suing the city's Department of Education for funeral expenses and damages.
While the city did not comment on details of the lawsuit, a spokeswoman for the Law Department said, “We will certainly review the case thoroughly.”
Elissa hopes her loss will bring about a positive change. “We hope that ultimately, this tragedy will increase people’s awareness and thereby bring about change that will help protect other children,” she said in a statement.
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