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The mother of a 15-year-old Indiana teenager who hanged himself two years ago has filed a wrongful death suit against the school district and four employees. The suit alleges the school’s response to harassment led Billy Lucas to take his life.
The plaintiff in the suit is Billy Lucas’ mother, Ann Lucas, and the defendants are the Greensburg Community School system and four employees – former Greensburg Junior High School principal Rodney King, current principal David Strouse and teachers Iris Ramp and Darci Kovacich.
The suit, filed in federal court in Indianapolis, alleges that Billy was “subjected to relentless harassment, ridicule and bullying” at the Greensburg, Ind., school for several years and that the harassment was over Lucas’ ethnicity and sexual orientation. Students, after his death, said that Billy was called “fag” and other names and everyone seemed to know about the bullying.
The suit states that Billy “had a right to be free from sexual harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation while in any educational program or activity that receives federal financial assistance.”
The complaint claims that the school employees knew about the harassment and failed to take steps to protect the boy.
The employees also allegedly participated in the harassment.
King, according to the complaint, told Lucas, “If someone beat you up, I wouldn’t know whether to give him an award or suspend him.”
Ramp and Kovacich also allegedly participated in verbally insulting and abusing Lucas on multiple occasions
The suit, making the case for wrongful death, states, ”The District failed to take reasonable measures to prevent (Billy Lucas) from being subjected to bullying when he was at school or a school-sponsored activity. As a direct result of the District’s negligence, (Billy Lucas) committed suicide.”
Ann Lucas is asking for compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees and other costs associated with the suit’s action. She is represented by the Frazier Law Firm in Indianapolis.