KUMAMOTO (TR) – The family of a high school girl who committed suicide in 2013 is suing her classmate and the prefectural government for tens of millions of yen over bullying, the family’s lawyer said on Monday.
The family’s lawsuit filed on July 18 with the Kumamoto District Court said that the classmate enrolled in school with the girl in April 2013. The student started sending veiled threatening messages through chat application Line in June, resulting in the girl committing suicide at home in August, the Mainichi Shimbun reports (August 1).
The classmate sent threatening messages like “Be sure to call for a rescue team” and was also making fun of the girl’s physical features, the Asahi Shimbun reported.
School staff were aware of the bullying but failed to take action, and also provided parental guardians with inappropriate information. The family pointed out that the staff are culpable for not fulfilling their responsibility to maintain safety, arguing it has a causal link with the suicide.
In a statement released by her family lawyer, the girl’s 48-year-old mother urged “the student who played a pivotal role in committing harmful acts as well as the school to squarely face the facts.”
“This lawsuit is to make sure that nothing like this happens ever again,” the girl’s mother said.
Kumamoto’s prefectural board of education said they “can’t make any comments because the lawsuit hasn’t been delivered,” and plans to study its contents in due course.
The school’s investigation committee wrote in a report that the girl experienced five instances of bullying by the classmate in forms like threatening messages sent through Line, but concluded according to the Asahi that “it can’t be said the bullying had a direct influence on the suicide.”
Objecting to the report, the girl’s mother requested the prefectural government to hold an investigation by a third-party panel which began in May.