ENDICOTT, NY (WIVT/WBGH) – The mother of an 8th grader who took his own life in response to repeated bullying and beatings is suing the Union-Endicott School District.
Aime Crawford is suing U-E after her 13 year-old son shot himself in the head back in November.
Crawford says her son, who the lawsuit refers to as his initials DH, was subjected to name calling and physical abuse by fellow students at Jennie F Snapp Middle School over and over during the school year.
She says she sought help from teachers, counselors and administrators but nothing stopped the bullying.
Crawford says talk now by the district about bullying prevention is too late.
“Now they’re trying to put stuff in place, get ideas on how to stop the bullying and stuff like that. How come my son had to die for that to happen? You should have been doing this already. And my son might still be here. He was my only child. I don’t ever get to hug him, watch him open presents, no more birthdays, nothing. He was 13. He had so much life ahead of him. He was so smart and kind, he could have been anything. But he’s not here and now they want to do stuff.”
Crawford says her son had behavioral issues and other disabilities that made him a target.
He was large for his age, 6 foot 1, and wore a purple and pink mohawk.
Crawford’s attorney Ron Benjamin says bullies repeatedly called DH stupid, slow, retard and sped, a slur against special education students.
And Benjamin says DH was told by other students that he should kill himself.
“Two weeks before the suicide, he was out in the yard and at least three students were beating him, hitting his head on the concrete, punching him. This was not the first time. These incidents kept piling up with no real response from the school.”
Benjamin says that the school not only failed to protect D-H, they also didn’t have proper supports in place to help him modify the behaviors that made him a target.
He says he’s also preparing a suit against BOCES, which was partially responsible for his education,
Crawford says she doesn’t know where DH got the handgun he used to shoot himself.
She says that since his death, she’s heard more horrific stories about the torment bullies put her son through.
Crawford believes those kids are still in the school, having faced little repercussions, and are likely terrorizing other kids to this day.
The U-E District issued the following statement in response: “The district is unable to comment on any ongoing litigation matters.”