- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 15, 2015

CARL JUNCTION, Mo. (AP) - A federal wrongful death lawsuit filed by the parents of a 14-year-old southwest Missouri boy who killed himself after being bullied at school has been settled for $300,000.

The Carl Junction School District and its insurance company settled the case Monday with Mika and Jessica Nugent, whose son died by suicide in March 2013, according to a notice filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.

The Nugents had claimed district officials failed to protect their son from bullying, The Joplin Globe (https://bit.ly/1gBLcUP ) reported. They say he was harassed after he came out as bisexual while attending Carl Junction Junior High School as a seventh-grader, and that the bullying took place both at school and on the school bus.

The lawsuit said the harassment included slurs, physical threats and the theft and destruction of his belongings. Family members said they reported the bullying to school employees, but that they didn’t keep an eye out for the teenager.

District Superintendent Phillip Cook said new tools are in place that allow students to report bullying, including a new online reporting system that started in January. Cook has been with the district’s central office for 14 years and said it’s the only lawsuit in which the district ever has been involved.

“Any stress myself and other defendants have been under is nothing compared to the feelings the Nugent family has had - not even close,” Cook said. “They lost their son. That breaks our heart. They’re the ones that need to continue to be prayed for and thought about. There are no hard feelings at all from myself or the district in any way. We wish this never would have happened, but unfortunately it did.”

Messages seeking comment with the Nugents’ attorney was left by the newspaper.


Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, https://www.joplinglobe.com

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