Bullying suicide victim's mother files suit against Polk County School System
POLK COUNTY, TN (WRCB) -
It's been a tough few weeks for Angel Harris and family. They've been dealing with the tragic death of Harris' daughter Jazmine.
Now, they're pushing a lawsuit to gain justice. "I hope to get it out about the bullying. I want them to take it more seriously," said Angel Harris.
She believes her daughter committed suicide, caused by bullying at Copper Basin Middle/High School, that she says the school system didn't stop. They've filed a $300,000 lawsuit against Polk County Schools for the wrongful death of Jazmine Harris, saying the system neglected the issue, citing multiple times they asked the school system for help.
Parents and community members spoke up about their concerns. One said he had emailed Polk County Superintendent Dr. James Jones just days after the death of Patrick Griffin, to find out what measures were taking place so this bullying wouldn't drive another child to the same fate.
"I never heard from you. So I emailed you again; still never heard from you. There was no sense of urgency on your part," said a concerned parent.
The concerned citizen said it wasn't until after Jazmine's death that he ever received a response.
The school system won't comment due to the active litigation, but during Monday night's school board meeting, Dr. Jones said this about bullying: "Nobody in our county wants anyone to be bullied. To my knowledge nothing has ever been swept under a rug, it has been investigated and gone from that point," said Dr. Jones.
The lawsuit isn't about the money for the Harris family. Angel says it's about the education. The story of her daughter Jazmine is being picked up more and more everyday, with some posts getting nearly 12,000 views. "It doesn't bring her back, but it helps me to know that her story is helping and healing others," said Harris.
Parents in the community hope the bullying stops here. "That's why we're stopping it. We will stop it one way or another. This bullying is going to stop. It has to. We can't lose any more of our kids," said Pam Duvall.
Dr. James Jones says they plan to implement a bullying hotline, where students can anonymously report bullying.
Harris says she isn't convinced anything will change and says only time will tell.