I wanted to give you a quick update on the lawsuit filed by Dragan and Celija Vidovic against Ohio’s Mentor Public School District for bullying after the suicide of their daughter, Sladjana. They claim that their daughter faced relentless bullying at Mentor High School and measures were not taken to end the bullying which they claim resulted in her suicide.
Recent articles report that the Mentor Public School District has asked a federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit stating that Sladjana was no longer a student at Mentor High School when she committed suicide in October 2008. As I reported in my first blog, she had decided to leave the school and had enrolled in an on-line school. The school district further claims that her parents were not legally able to bring a claim on her behalf because her estate was closed before they filed the lawsuit. Judge Ted Klammer, the Lake County Probate Court Judge claimed that the closing of the estate was a clerical error. (Records show that the estate was reopened recently retroactively to August 4th, the date it was closed.) We will have to wait to hear the federal court’s decision on this sensitive matter.
On a happier note, four seniors at Mentor High School were so upset by the national attention their school is receiving due to the suicides of four students from their school as a result of bullying that they decided to take some positive steps. Chelsea Lyons, Amanda Sojka, Jacklyn Grugrich and Jordon Greer put their love for their school into writing and garnered more than 800 signatures in a day in support of their school. They feel that this tragedy has brought them together as a family and are quick to proclaim their love for their school and their respect for their teachers. Good for them!
Let’s get real! This could be your school district or mine facing these charges. We all know how hard it is to stop bullying, and we also know that bullying is often excused as something that has always been around and will always be around. As a result, incidences are not dealt with as seriously as they should be. My hope is that all of this national attention will have a positive outcome. If it forces schools to take a tougher stand, to train its personnel to firmly and consistently deal with bullying, and to truly guarantee the safety of our schools then we will have learned valuable lessons, and we will safeguard our students as parents rightfully expect that we will.
Let’s work together nationally to create safe schools, and maybe we can all legitimately take pride in our schools as these Mentor seniors do.