An update to the tragic story of Jaheem Herrera, the 11-year-old Atlanta boy who took his own life after months of harassment and anti-gay bullying. The family has filed suit against the DeKalb County School System, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
School officials have 30 days to answer the claim, though Masika Bermudez’s lawyer expects the suit to go forward. "We will be asking for a substantial amount," said Gerald Griggs, whose complaint alleges negligence by Dunaire Elementary School officials.
Jaheem’s mother said she complained to them about relentless bullying of her son, but that the abuse didn’t stop. She believes it ultimately led Jaheem to kill himself. A "significant majority" of any money awarded to the family—via settlement or jury verdict—would go toward funding the Jaheem Herrera Foundation, he said.
The suit comes the same time a criminal investigation into the DeKalb County School District gains momentum as other parents say their sons were also bullied, harassed, "called gay" and beaten with belt buckles at the same school. The AJC and WXIA-TV report Griggs represents other parents of Dunaire students who say their children were bullied, too. The school system will release their findings on the Herrera "bully-cide" on May 20.
Jaheem Herrera took his own life on April 16. This was two weeks after the suicide of Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, an 11-year-old Massachusetts boy who also suffered taunts that he was gay, feminine and "talked funny.".
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