School attorneys urge judge to dismiss lawsuit over suicide video

Feb. 6, 2014 at 10:55 AM
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ORLANDO, Fla., Feb. 6 (UPI) -- An eighth-grade production class video about suicide led a 13-year-old Florida girl to kill herself, an attorney for the teen's parents said in court.

Johanna Lowe played the lead in the video and pretended to take an overdose of pills and pass out, attorney Eric Faddis said.

A few weeks later, her boyfriend broke up with her, and the young girl hung herself in the closet, the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel reported.

Her parents then sued teacher Joseph Fife and the Seminole County School Board for negligence.

On Wednesday in court, Faddis said that Tuskawilla Middle School teacher and school district did not get the parents' permission for her to participate in the video.

Faddis claimed that the school is required by law to get permission to provide suicide prevention counseling.

He argued that the video sensationalized suicide and contributed to her death, which occurred in 2010.

Robert Bonner, an attorney for the school board and teacher Joseph Fife, urged Circuit Judge Debra Nelson to dismiss the suit.

He said the girl did not kill herself at school or under Fife's supervision, the Sentinel reported.

"Just because it's unfortunate and sad doesn't mean there's a cause of action," he said.

Nelson did not make a decision on whether the suit should be dismissed.

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