No part of the country seems to have been struck more by the bullying epidemic than Mentor, Ohio. Four teens who all attended Mentor High School have committed suicide within the last two years. Now, two of the grieving families are suing the school district, citing “bullicide,” according to The Associated Press.
The families of Sladjana Vidovic and Eric Mohat, two of the teens who were bullied to death, are taking a stand against the school they claim did nothing to stop the torment their children endured every day. The Vidovics and the Mohats said they contacted the school many times to report the bullying, but that nothing was done. Now they are turning to the legal system for justice for their children. This isn’t the only case like this around the country. Many other families of bullied teens are speaking out and holding their schools legally responsible
In another case in Ohio, Sara Clark, also the victim of bullying, and her family are suing the school district for failing to take action against her bully. Sara entered the sights of a girl at school when she began dating a boy the unidentified girl had previously been involved with, according to WLWT. This progressed into an assault on Sara, and damage to her car. Legal action was taken and the girl was charged with assault and criminal damaging. A court order was issued that stated that the girl, only known in court documents as S.H., would have no contact with Sara Clark, and S.H. was also sentenced to community service.
The most recent suit brought by the Clarks states that the school did nothing, even when notified of the court order, when S.H. sat next to Clark in the cafeteria, and attended classes that she wasn’t in, just to torment Clark. The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages, along with attorney fees and other costs.
Billy Wolfe, a teen from Fayetteville, Arkansas, is another victim of bullying. Billy and his family sued one of the bullies and the school, according to The Today Show. The difference in the Wolfes’ case is that they have actual video footage of assaults on him, filmed by the bullies themselves. The suit came after the Wolfes tried to resolve the situation in every other way. They spoke to the parents of the bullies and to school officials, and still the bullying continued. At the time, they said that this is the only way to teach their child to stand up for himself. The school district won this case of school bullying against the Wolfes, according to the Arkansas Times, and this leads to the question: Is this going to be the pattern in all the other bullying cases?
If the Wolfe case is any indication of the outcome of these other trials, then there will never be justice for the families of the bullied. Any school would hold a student responsible for damage to their property, but they don’t see it fit to hold a bully responsible for damage to another student on their property? This is what needs to be looked at in these cases. If students are to be held responsible for all other actions while attending classes at school, then their actions against other students need to be punished. No other child needs to die because of the harassment that they are forced to suffer with at school, which is supposed to be a safe haven for children.
Meghan Barr, “1 Ohio school, 4 bullied teens dead at own hand” The Associated Press
Mike Celizic, “Parents sue son’s bully, threaten school district” The Today Show
WLWT, Girl Sues Fairfield Schools Over Bullying Complaints” WLWT
Max Brantley, “School district wins bullying suit” Arkansas Times