WICHITA FALLS, Texas — An Iowa Park woman whose son committed suicide has sued the Iowa Park Consolidated Independent School District, claiming the district did nothing to prevent the bullying and discrimination she says led to her son's death.
Roxanne Jones filed the suit Tuesday in federal court in Wichita Falls, claiming the school district violated T.G. Garcia's constitutional rights.
The suit alleges that because T.G., 14, was of mixed ethnic origin, "was extremely slender and had a very exuberant personality that many perceived as being 'feminine' or 'girly'," he was subjected to bullying on almost a daily basis.
T.G. died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the family's home on Oct. 26, 2014.
"T.G.'s nuclear family and his stepfather made sure the school knew about the bullying and were advised by the Vice Principal that 'boys will be boys.' As a result, no actions or resolutions were taken by the school," the suit claims.
It also claims that on one occasion Garcia was physically assaulted in a school hallway when he was hit by a cowbell and suffered a cracked rib.
"Following the incident, both T.G. and his mother went to Vice Principal (Tim) Jetton and reported the incident," the suit claims. "The Vice Principal never investigated the incident. ..." The suit also claims Jetton "never bothered to learn or remember T.G.'s name, referring to him more than once as 'the little Mexican boy'."
The suit claims one student in particular "bullied and harassed T.G. on a near daily basis, often calling him 'faggot' and 'wetback' " and claims the bullying youngster once told Garcia "he should go home and kill himself."
"T.G. and two classmates who overheard the conversation reported it to Jetton. "However, as usual, Jetton never investigated the incident," the suit claims.
According to the suit, T.G. confided in a friend of the family that he intended to kill himself. The friend told Jetton, who said he would talk to the boy and his parents.
"He did neither of these things," the suit alleges.
The lawsuit lists an extensive litany of alleged failures on the part of the school district to intervene in the bullying and harassment against Garcia.
It also alleges violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Education Amendments Act of 1972, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
The suit contains a lengthy history of bullying in the nation's schools and efforts to prevent it. It also points out the Iowa Park school district completed a District Improvement Plan that addressed harassment and bullying, but claims the district only "gave these concerns 'lip service' and turned a 'blind eye' to the problems."
The suit seeks punitive damages for physical pain, medical expenses, mental anguish, mental health expenses, loss of consortium, physical impairment and loss of life and liberty. It does not specify a dollar amount other than asking for reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses to the family and attorney fees.