Judge dismisses lawsuit over teen suicide

May 24, 2012 at 4:14 PM
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ROME, Ga., May 24 (UPI) -- A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against a school district by a Georgia couple whose son's suicide was documented in the film "Bully."

U.S. District Judge Harold Murphy, in a ruling issued Monday, said that David and Tina Long did not show that the Murray County School District was deliberately indifferent to the actions of other students towards Tyler Long, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Tyler suffered from Asperger syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism.

Murray said the district took steps to protect Tyler after his parents reported the bullying. Tina Long even wrote officials praising them for their response.

There were no reports of bullying in the months before Tyler's death, the judge said. In his opinion, Murphy said much of the reported bullying occurred when Tyler was in middle school, long before he hanged himself when he was a junior in 2009.

"A school district, however, is not deliberately indifferent simply because the measures it takes are ultimately ineffective in stopping harassment," Murphy wrote.

The Longs reacted angrily to the ruling, although they said they have not decided on an appeal.

"As long as the school has done the bare minimum, it's OK," David Long said. "It just infuriates me that schools cannot be held accountable."

Tyler is one of several children profiled in "Bully." Some critics have said the documentary oversimplifies his story.

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