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The mother of Jamarcus Bell blames his school for her son's suicide, and she filed a lawsuit this week that outlines the pattern of bullying she says officials failed to protect him from.
TheIndianapolis Star profiles the case of Bell, a 14-year-old freshman at Hamilton Southeastern High School who killed himself in October. Bell was targeted by bullies because of "his race, [his] perceived homosexuality and emotional disability," according to the lawsuit. And his mother, Natalie Moore, says the school district was negligent in its lack of reaction.
The Star reports that Bell had already tried to kill himself once -- while on school property. Over the course of three years, he'd had pieces of metal thrown at him during welding class, for example, and was repeatedly called antigay slurs.
Yet the school "continued to throw him amongst the wolves, the student population," the mother's lawyer told the Star.
The school district's superintendent denies that the lawsuit tells the whole story.
"Our teachers and administrators took multiple steps to assist the student and his family," insisted superintendent Brian Smith in a statement to the Star today. "We will not discuss the details of our actions in the media, but we believe there are factors that are very different from the ones alleged in the lawsuit and portrayed in the media. We are prepared to present these matters to the court, which is the proper forum for this discussion."
Young people who may be contemplating suicide and want to talk can call 866-4-U-TREVOR.