A New Jersey school principal and several teachers, counselors and district anti-bullying officials are named in a new lawsuit filed by a New Jersey mother whose 12-year-old gay son, Tristan Peterson, committed suicide after she had made multiple complaints to school officials that he was being bullied.
NJ.com reports: “[Peterson’s mother], who declined to comment for this story, contacted school officials on multiple occasions to report the mistreatment of her son, according to the suit. Documents describe a specific incident that occurred days before Tristan’s death, when he was ‘specifically subject to threats from another student or students at the Woodruff School related to his sexual orientation.’ The incident was witnessed by a Woodruff staff member and reported to administrators, according to the suit.”
Peterson came out to his classmates in 2017, expecting acceptance but was “bullied, harassed and even threatened” according to his family. He took his own life in December of that year.
NBC News reports: “The suit accuses the school, the Upper Deerfield School District and staff of negligence, and of violating the state’s discrimination law, wrongful death and creating a hostile learning environment. Several district staff and the state of New Jersey are also named in the suit, which seeks damages and a jury trial.”
The school district, Upper Deerfield Township, the State of New Jersey, are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.