HARRIS COUNTY, Texas The Harris County District Attorney s Office confirmed Friday that it will investigate the suicide of a 13-year-old boy to see if anyone should be held accountable for the bullying his parents allege led to his death.
Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos said her office will try to determine if there was egregious conduct that influenced Asher Brown to shoot himself with his father s handgun the day after he announced to his parents he realized he was gay.
His parents said he was the target of verbal and physical bullying regarding his sexual orientation and religion at Hamilton Middle School in the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District.
There is an assortment of causes of action: assault, battery, malicious mischief, said Gerald Treece, 11 News legal expert and South Texas College of Law professor.
Treece said charges against classmates and school administrators are possible. A federal civil rights lawsuit is a potential, yet difficult, avenue for the family as well.
Everything that this boy was, all the circumstances that led him to believe that he didn t want to live anymore, Treece said of the likely scope of the district attorney s investigation.
Asher Brown s parents took their tragedy, and their search for answers, to a nationwide network audience this week.
We welcome and embrace the DA s investigation for any wrongdoing. If charges are filed we hope the appropriate parties will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, said their legal advocate Louis Geigerman from New York.
Meanwhile, State Representative Garnet Coleman announced he will introduce additional anti-bullying legislation beyond what is already part of state law when the state legislature convenes in January. Coleman has attempted to get the Dignity For All Students Act passed every year since 2003.
The law would prohibit discrimination and harassment on the basis of ethnicity, color, gender, gender identify or expression, sexual orientation, disability, religion, or national origin. It would also protect students, parents and whistleblowers who report harassment. Public schools in Texas would also be forced to establish a policy that includes LGBT youth in its programs aimed at preventing harassment or bullying at school.