Bullying by students, teachers at an Horry County school led to teen’s suicide, suit says

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Constant bullying by faculty and classmates at Aynor Middle School led a disabled teen to commit suicide, according to a lawsuit.

The 14-year-old student, only identified by the initials T.I., died on Dec. 30, 2017, shortly before Christmas break ended for Horry County Schools, the filing states.

“While a student at Aynor Middle School, T.I. became the victim of regular and outrageous disability-based bullying and harassment by his classmates and faculty,” according to the suit.

Horry County Schools spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier said the district does not comment on pending litigation.

The student’s mother, Kimberly Debreczeni, filed the suit on Friday in Horry County circuit court. The lawsuit states T.I. suffered from an Autism-Spectrum Disorder, which impaired his social skills.

The student had an individual education plan while attending Whittemore Park Middle School, according to the suit. The student joined Aynor Middle School in 2016 and teachers knew of his disability and plan. The purpose of the plan was to ensure the student’s safe access to education.

While a student, T.I. suffered regular bullying and teachers knew about the harassment because it happened in front of them, the mother contends. Still, they took no steps to stop the bullying, the filing states.

T.I. committed suicide after the school didn’t take steps to adhere to the plane or address the bullying, according to the suit.

Horry County Schools administrators knew of the “plague of bullying and assault within its district” because of several lawsuits alleging those issues in recent years, the filing states. Those other lawsuits show the district failed to address bullying, the mother contends.

The family asks for an unspecified amount of damages saying it suffered from tremendous grief and sorrow, extreme mental shock and other issues. The lawsuit alleges wrongful death and negligence, among other claims.

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Alex Lang is the True Crime reporter for The Sun News covering the legal system and how crime impacts local residents. He says letting residents know if they are safe is a vital role of a newspaper. Alex has covered crime in Detroit, Iowa, New York City, West Virginia and now Horry County.