School sued by mother of suicide victim
by Dolores Hamilton
Last week the Iowa Park Consolidated Independent School District learned that it is being sued by Roxanne Jones, whose 14-year-old son T.G. committed suicide two years ago.
Jones claims the school district did nothing to prevent the bullying and discrimination that led to her son’s death. T.G. died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his home on Oct. 26, 2014.
According to the lawsuit, T.G. is described as “a student of Hispanic, Italian, Native American and White descent. He was extremely slender and had a very exuberant personality that many perceived as being feminine or girly.”
The lawsuit alleges several failures on the part of the Iowa Park school district to intervene in the harassment and bullying against Garcia, and include the following:
“While a student at the Iowa Park Independent School District, T.G. was harassed and bullied on a regular basis, not only because of his race, but also because he exhibited a girlish persona which made him an object of scorn based upon his gender and gender stereotypes.
“He was called a faggot and wetback on a near daily basis.
“T.G., his mother, Roxanne Jones, and even fellow students, reported multiple incidents of harassment to Vice Principal Tim Jetton, but neither he, nor anyone else with the School District took any action to stop the bullying or provide a safe environment for T.G.
“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 to address the bullying.
“The bullying and harassment wasn’t limited to verbal assaults. On one occasion T.G. was physically assaulted while walking in the hallway at school. T.G. was hit with a cowbell causing him to suffer a cracked rib. The injury was severe enough to require a trip to the emergency room. Following the incident, both T.G. and his mother went to Vice Principal Jetton and reported the incident. Jetton informed them that ‘boys will be boys.’
“”One student in particular bullied and harassed T.G. on a near-daily basis. On Oct. 23, while riding the ROTC bus, the student called T.G. a faggot and a wetback, and added that T.G. should go home and kill himself and that everyone would know Monday why he called him a fag.T.G. and two of his classmates went to Vice Principal Jetton and reported the incident. Jetton assured the boys that he would look into the allegation.”
The suit also alleges violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Education Amendments Act of 1972, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
In a statement emailed to the Iowa Park Leader, Iowa Park CISD Superintendent Steve Moody said the following:
“Iowa Park Consolidated Independent School District has been notified that a lawsuit has been filed against the District by the parents of a former student. It is not the practice of the District to respond to allegations. The District makes student safety and student welfare a top priority. Accordingly the District has in place policies to protect students against bullying or harassment - whether based on a student’s sexual orientation, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, or other protected criteria. Those polices provide for mechanisms for students, parents, teachers, or other persons to report any incident of bullying or harassment. The policies also contain procedures for the investigation of any such report and the discipline of any persons found to have violated the rights of others. Further, Iowa Park CISD trains its administrators, teachers, counselors, nurses, and other staff to be knowledgeable of the existence and implementation of these polices.”
“Iowa Park CISD respects the privacy of its students and parents - both current and former. While Iowa Park CISD will not address the particulars concerning a pending lawsuit outside of the legal arena, the District disputes many of the claims asserted in the current lawsuit. The District intends to respond to the allegations raised against it in legal pleadings to be filed with the Court.”
IPHS Vice Principal Tim Jetton left the Iowa Park school district last August to accept the position of principal at Grape Creek ISD Middle School.
In a statement to the Leader, he said, “ I cannot discuss the lawsuit filed against Iowa Park CISD. Even though employed there in Oct. 2014, I am not named in the suit. In a statement released by IPCISD, the district disputes the allegations and intends to respond to the allegations raised against it in legal pleadings to be filed with the court.”