Kenyan Parents of a High School Student in Florida Who committed Suicide Intend to Sue
David Githiiyu had a promising future. But at the age of 15, the Lee High School student committed suicide. Githiiyu's family believes bullying led to their son's suicide.
The family has notified the City of Jacksonville and Duval County Public Schools of a pending lawsuit. David's parents, Elizabeth Githiiyu and Ayub Njoroge, say that their son was "the victim of bullying and harassment by fellow students" and it happened in front of teachers, physical education teachers and administrators but they all "failed to follow Florida law" and help their son.
"All of that led up to David's suicide because he was afraid to go to school," says his mother.
Githiiyu's suicide happened the same day that he was supposed to go on a field trip to visit UCF. According to his family, the bus driver and teachers refused to allow David on the bus and then left without him. Elizabeth says her son was crying when he realized he wouldn't be able to go on the trip with his classmates. She dropped him off at home, only to return later and find David hanging with a belt around his neck, inside their home.
David's suicide happened in January of 2011. But time has done little to help David's family find peace.
"I feel like my family is half without my son," says Elizabeth.
David's family hopes their son's suicide puts the spotlight on a topic that isn't usually discussed, suicide. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death among 10 to 24-year olds. One of the attorneys representing David's family says that schools can learn something from David's suicide.
"What are the steps that are being taken to ensure that it doesn't go so far that the ultimate decision is made by the child to commit suicide -- I think that's one of the most important things we hope to accomplish," says attorney Charles Alford.
The school district has an anti-bullying policy. To read the policy or report bullying anonymously.
As for the lawsuit, the school district and the city do not comment on pending litigation.
Oh my - this is heart-breaking. Why would the teachers refuse to let him on the bus in the first place? I don't get it!!! I am sure the parents must have paid for the field trip if that was a requirement. So why would TEACHERS - those that are supposed to act as our kid's second mothers/fathers outside of our homes - refuse to let him on the bus or watch such bullying occur in front of them??? I commend the parents for pursuing this lawsuit - it's justice for their son and I hope it is served!!!
Jacksonville, FL is notorious for racism!
It is sad to see a young boy like David Githiiyu commit suicide because of teachers neglect. The school should provide a safe environment for our kids when they go to school to learn otherwise what is the difference between them learning how to sell drugs on the streets and selling drugs for the same bullies in school?
I hope the family wins this lawsuit and sets an example to others!!!
Continued bullying overtime based on your last name, size, origin, and then brilliance in academics (he was a genius in all he did), can cause group dynamics that can lead to people trying to go with the masses. The adults in this scenario failed this boy. The boy had paid, bus was still in parking lot and he was knocking the door. He even called his friend in that bus so that he could tell the couch that he was outside the bus desperately knocking to be let in. They (students, driver, coaches and teaches) failed him and drove away as he went to report to mom. Mom chased the bus, stopped them and gave them a 2nd chance to do the right thing. They did not. That could have pulled the last straw. I know the family and they live an exit away from us. We wept with them.
We as Kenyan parents have to listen to our kids. Just two days ago my son said that this school year he wants to be called Andrew. We had a conversation whereby me as a die had mzalendo was telling him that having been born in the Diaspora, hardly speaking Kuk..his name is all his got and re-informed him that he is named after my daddy.
I spoke with another Kenyan whose daughter with sickle cell attended the same high school. She was bullied for having a strange name, wearing same shoes year round and fainting. She still lives in trauma and buys 100s of shoes to cope with this trauma without considering other bills. After this News, I told my son to call himself whatever he wanted. Middle-schoolers can be brutal and we need to talk to our kids.
Elizabeth and Njoroge (boy's parents) you are in our prayers and we will continue to support you as a community. Calling on Kenyans to watch this case and support this couple. Their win is ours in the Diaspora and I am speaking as an individual who is not representing my employers or organizations.
As an individual and a parent, it is tough to comprehend when one knows they have kids that will one day be school age. This needs to be a documentary on you-tube. A kids life is so special that need not to die at such an age coz of negligence etc. Also a name and good grades must not result to bullying.
I DO SUPPORT THE PARENTS DECISION and ON THE OTHER HAND IT MUST BE DEVASTATING FOR PARENTS TO LOSE A CHILD.
Will remember the family in prayer.