Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Florida: Distraught Mother Says Her Son Shot, Killed Himself with Handgun to Protest Bullying

According to Reuters, school authorities in Orlando are reportedly investigating the death of a 14-year-old boy whose mother on Monday (September 15) said that her only son, Lamar "Shaq" Hawkins III, committed suicide with a handgun.

The youngster was only in the seventh grade.

"Shaq" was found dead at approximately midnight on September 10, 2014.

COMMENT: What is so disturbing by this avoidable death of a youngster with his life in front of him, is that the school system was well aware that "Shaq" was a victim of bullying which the school failed to adequately address.

Regardless of what steps the Orlando schools are doing to prevent bullying, it is  NOT enough!

It seems completely reasonable that the anguished family file a wrongful death lawsuit to punish the school system for its remiss failure to keep "Shaq" safe from bullying.

Additionally, the school district should be mandated to teach self-defense training to ALL students so as to enable them to effectively protect themselves.

What is most disturbing about this unnecessary and wrongful death of a boy is that the family had entrusted their son into the care of the Greenwood Lakes Middle School only for the youngster to become so desperate by his bullying experience that he was compelled to take his own life.
"The hopelessness was overwhelming," Shaniqua Hawkins, the mother of Lamar "Shaq" Hawkins III, told a news conference.
The boy, who stunted by a childhood illness, was found dead around midnight last Wednesday (September 10) at Greenwood Lakes Middle School in Lake Mary, some 20 miles north of Orlando. 
The boy's parents met with the school administration about the bullying multiple times, including as recently as two to three weeks before the suicide, said Matt Morgan, an attorney for the family. 

Lamar killed himself with his father’s gun, which attorney Matt Morgan said was properly safeguarded in the family home. 
"This is a very tragic circumstance and our hearts and prayers remain with the family during this difficult time. ... The school board has a comprehensive bullying policy that is fully enforced in all of our schools," Griffin said.
Shaniqua Hawkins said the family moved from New York City two years ago to get Lamar away from bullies who picked on him at his school there.
Mr. Morgan said the boy was about 4 feet 6 inches tall and weighed less than 80 pounds. 

The family nicknamed him after retired NBA star Shaquille O’Neal for his big personality and grand outlook on life, Shaniqua Hawkins said.
Shaniqua Hawkins said bullies pushed Lamar down stairwells and pulled his chair out from under him in the school cafeteria and mocked him because of his small stature.
“We now know that he was unable to continue his fight against the bullies. They won...I believe he took his life at school to send a message to these bullies that they were to blame for his suffering,” Shaniqua Hawkins said at the news conference.

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