Buckley boy told by classmates 'to kill myself,' family to sue district

One family's story of middle school bullying could have turned tragic. They are looking for answers because they think the school district didn't do enough to help their son.

A Buckley family plans to file a lawsuit against the White River School District after they say school officials didn’t do enough to protect a 13-year-old boy from bullying at Glacier Middle School.

"Late September he started telling me situations that were going on," said the boy’s mother, Shannon.

Her son, whom she didn’t want to be identified, described the situations.

"Every day I got called names, got told to kill myself, made fun of how I looked, how I acted.”

He said it impacted him in school.

"I couldn't focus on learning at all. I mean, all that I was focusing on was, ‘Is somebody going to make fun of me or is what’s going to happen in the halls next?’"

The latest incident he said happened this week when kids wrote disparaging comments in his yearbook encouraging him to “Do the world a favor and die,” in addition to expletives.  We asked his mother if those comments pushed her son to the edge.

"I don't know how to answer that. I don't want to answer that," she said.

She says she reached out to school officials over the course of the past school year about the bullying incidents. She said the school didn't do anything about it, so she hired an attorney, Yvonne Ward, who provide KING 5 with an email dated May of 2017.

The mother, Shannon, said the email, proves she notified the school about bullying before he received hurtful comments in his yearbook.

"Kids only do what the grownups let them do," said Ward. 

Ward said they plan to file a lawsuit against the school district this week.

"Schools have a duty to provide a safe learning environment for all kids because if they're not safe, they can't learn. It's the law and they didn't do that here," said Ward. "They broke the law."

The White River School District released two statements on the bullying incidents. The most recent statement said in part:

"AS EDUCATORS, WE ARE DEVASTATED WHEN SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENS TO ANY STUDENT. OUR IMMEDIATE CONCERN IS FOR THE SAFETY AND WELL-BEING OF THE STUDENT INVOLVED. THE DISTRICT IS CONDUCTING AN ONGOING INVESTIGATION INTO THIS INCIDENT IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE BUCKLEY POLICE DEPARTMENT. "

READ: Message from White River School District superintendent

Shannon said she is still undecided about sending her son back to this middle school next year.

"We should be able to feel comfort that we're sending our kid to school and they're feeling protected," she said.

The family says they're suing because they want to see real change at the district and want better policies and a better system in place to protect students from bullying.

© 2017 KING-TV


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