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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

School Sued Over Student’s Bullying, Suicide

CLEVELAND (CN) - A 17-year-old student committed suicide after a bully said, "Why don't you go home and shoot yourself? No one would miss you," in front of other students and the teacher, the boy's parents claim in a federal lawsuit. They say officials at the Mentor Public School District failed to protect their son from constant bullying.

For months prior to his death, Eric Mohat allegedly endured name-calling, teasing, and constant pushing, shoving and hitting. William and Janis Mohat say most of the harassment took place in their son's math class, taught by Thomas Horvath.

The name-calling was often sexual in nature, with students calling Eric names such as "gay," "fag," "queer" and "homo," the lawsuit claims.

Horvath and school administrators knew or should have known about the bullying and how it was affecting him, because Eric wrote about on an online social networking page monitored by school officials. Also, on the day of Eric's death, "at least one administrator saw Eric crying in the hallway of the high school and took no action to find out what was wrong or to help Eric," the Mohats claim.

They add that two of Eric's classmates had already committed suicide, at least partially due to in-school bullying and harassment.

Represented by Kenneth Myers, the Mohats seek actual and punitive damages.

Defendants include superintendent Jaqueline Hoynes and principal Joseph Spiccia.

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