Teacher's Bullying as 'Gay' Led to Suicide Try, Student Says
CHARLESTON, S.C. (CN) - A high school math teacher in South Carolina bullied a student so mercilessly as "gay" that the boy tried to kill himself, the teen and his mother claim in court.
John Doe and his mother sued the Charleston County School District in the Charleston County Court of Common Pleas.
The teacher, Alan Ingram, is not named as a defendant, though he is named throughout the complaint. Ingram was the boy's teacher at West Ashley High School in Charleston, the family says in the lawsuit.
"In early April 2013, Ingram began bullying plaintiff in class, in front of plaintiff's classmates, by telling plaintiff's classmates that plaintiff was 'gay,' and by calling plaintiff names and belittling him in the presence of his classmates. This continued on a daily basis for an extended period of time," the complaint states.
"During this time, Ingram repeatedly belittled plaintiff in front of his peers, calling plaintiff names in class such as 'Gay,' 'Gay Boy,' 'Mrs. Pete,' 'Mrs. Peters,' and other names.
"Ingram repeatedly told plaintiff's classmates that plaintiff was in a homosexual relationship with another male classmate and that they were 'boyfriend and girlfriend'.
"Further, Ingram encouraged and asked other students in class to pick on plaintiff as well and similarly belittle him during classes."
The boy's mother, who filed the lawsuit as Jane Doe, said her son felt particularly helpless because Ingram was in a position of authority,
"Plaintiff was made to feel that he could not report this to the school administration; and further, plaintiff felt he could not appeal to any of his classmates due to the alienation and isolation created by Ingram," the mother and son say in the complaint.
The teacher's bullying gave the boy "emotional and psychological distress which was manifested by physical illness," his mom says. As a result, she says, her son "attempted to commit suicide by hanging himself."
He has since withdrawn from school, is being educated at home, and is undergoing mental health counseling, his mother says.
The family seeks damages for gross negligence and pain and suffering, and costs of the lawsuit and medical bills.
They are represented by Philip Hammond, with Uricchio, Howe, Krell, Jacobson, Toporek, Theos & Keith.
Ingram is still a math teacher at West Ashley High School, according to the school's website, checked this morning (Friday).