The mother of a high school student who committed suicide is suing the school district she alleges failed to act on the violent bullying of her son from a vicious student group.
Kristi Rice is suing Kansas City-area Liberty Public Schools, alleging wrongful death liability, after her son, 16-year-old Logan LeBlanc, attempted suicide and died five days later, reports local KCTV News Five.
LeBlanc attended Liberty North High School as a sophomore.
“The facts that give rise to this lawsuit are tragic,” Attorney Dan Zmijewski, who filed a suit on behalf of Rice, told The Lion. “Logan’s family initiated this suit to protect other children that may be struggling. They hope is it draws awareness, so students in the future can rely on teachers and administration to be heard and taken seriously and not suffer quietly or alone.”
The district, the school’s former principal and other administrators are named in the 21-page complaint.
The lawsuit alleges that a group of students who styled themselves “The Mercenaries” beat LeBlanc, and the district and the school still have done nothing to punish the group.
In another incident, LeBlanc himself was punished for a fist fight, when a boy who allegedly didn’t attend Liberty North High School, came on the school grounds repeatedly, finally forcing LeBlanc to defend himself, according to the lawsuit.
This, despite LeBlanc’s repeated attempts to make school officials aware of the situation, said the suit.
LeBlanc was suspended for two weeks over the altercation.
The lawsuit says that another student, who was allegedly harassed by the same group of students, also attempted suicide in May.
“By not addressing the Mercenaries and the repeated bullying taking place, the District has emboldened the Mercenaries to continue their reign of fear through the school,” said the suit.
A copy of the lawsuit provided by Zmijewski to The Lion alleges, “Kids joked about his [LeBlanc’s] weight constantly” and that “also ridiculed him for other things like his haircut or his political opinions.”
LeBlanc, his mother and his grandfather each allegedly informed teachers and administrators of LeBlanc’s declining mental health.
“These administrators did not take the time to know this child,” LeBlanc’s mother told The Kansas City Star. “He felt like nobody cared. That’s truly what I feel in my heart, that he felt he was better off gone from here because he didn’t matter.”
The final blow came when LeBlanc failed to make the baseball team after tryouts.
Previously, LeBlanc played freshman football.
At 6-foot-3 and 245 pounds, his mother called him a “gentle giant,” according to the Star.
Several days after being cut by the baseball team came the suicide attempt.
The suit alleges the district failed to “implement measures to prevent bullying,
harassment, assault, battery and misconduct,” and even failed to follow their own policies in keeping students safe, by implementing a safety plan.
The suit also alleges the district failed to comply with state and local laws in protecting LeBlanc.
According to Kansas City’s Fox 4 News, the Liberty School District put out the following statement:
“First and foremost, the loss of a member of our school community is the ultimate tragedy, and our thoughts continue to be with the family and friends of this young person that was lost too soon. Liberty Public Schools takes the health, safety, and welfare of all of our students seriously, and we have Board policies in place that address this. Our school teams work tirelessly to ensure our students have resources readily available if in need of extra support.”
“My son was the kind of kid who wanted peace,” Rice told the Star of LeBlanc. “He wanted to go to school, be with friends, play baseball…. Even in his note [to a teacher], he said, ‘I want to go home.’”