Cameron R-I School District Being Sued
Local mother, Susan Welchel, is suing the Cameron R-1 School District for not only failing to protect her son, Lane Welchel, from bullying but for punishing him. Lane was hospitalized for depression due to bullying last January and Susan went to the school asking for help. She was told, that in order to help, the school needed her to provide names. After asking her sons friends and doing some digging, she was able fill out the requested forms and provide the school with names. Yet the bullying continued.
Much of the bullying centered around Lane choosing to wear a Star of David and yarmulke in recognition of his Jewish origin. The bullying even escalated to the point of swastikas being spray painted on school property.
According to Susan, the school not only failed to protect Lane they went after him based on another student’s “tip”. Lane was suspended and reported to police for bringing his allergy medicine, over the counter pain relievers and anti-depressants to school in his backpack.
Shortly after, Lane was again hospitalized for having suicidal thoughts. While he was hospitalized the school asked to speak with Lane about the graffiti. School administrators emphasizing that he would not be permitted back in school until they could meet with him on the issue. The move, from Susan’s perspective, displayed a lack of care and concern for her son’s health. When Lane was eventually able to meet with school officials, he was cleared of any wrongdoing.
Upon his return to school, the bullying continued. Lane killed himself in December. Susan believes her son would still be here if the school would have taken the bullying issue seriously. According to the lawsuit, the school violated its own policies. One of which was to protect the alleged victim and let that person know he or she is protected from retaliation, the principal is to initiate an investigation within two days of the initial bullying report, the investigation is to be completed within ten days, and disciplining students who participated in the bullying.
The Cameron R-1 School District administration was unavailable for comment.