Myles FitzpatrickAge 17
7 Nov 2022
Manville, New Jersey (USA)
Myles died by suicide after enduring bullying and harrassment at school.
After his death his (supportive) family filed a lawsuit against his school alleging that they had failed to prevent or act on the treatment he had received from other students.
The mother of a Manville High School student who died by suicide has sued the school district for allegedly not preventing the bullying of her child during the transition from being female to male.
Myles Fitzpatrick, 17, who was set to graduate in June, died by suicide in November after he was “subjected to continued severe harassment and bullying by his fellow students based upon his gender identity, including derogatory comments and having items thrown at him,” according to the lawsuit filed May 2 in Superior Court in Somerset County by his mother Danielle Warshefski.
“In our opinion, the current system let Myles down and we look forward to proving the allegations contained in the lawsuit to hopefully effectuate positive change in that regard,” said R. Daniel Bause, Warshefski’s attorney.
Manville Superintendent of Schools Jamil Maroun did not reply to a request for comment.
Myles had been transitioning since December 2020.
In December 2020, Fitzpatrick came out as transgender and began transitioning from female to male, the lawsuit says, taking on the first name Myles.
Because of the pandemic, classes at Manville High School were held virtually during the 2020-21 school year.
But when school began in a hybrid format in September 2021, Fitzpatrick became the target of harassment, intimidation and bullying, the lawsuit charges.
He was ridiculed about his appearance and clothing and was subjected to slurs, referring to him as “she” and remarks that “he would never be a male,” the lawsuit says.
He also was frequently physically bullied in the hallways, including being pushed into lockers, having items thrown at him, being kicked and having his hair pilled, the lawsuit charges.
That behavior continued when he used the boys bathroom or locker room when he had to change clothes for gym, the lawsuit says.
On several occasions, the lawsuit alleges, those actions were committed in the presence of teachers and other staff members who did not intervene.
He then began experiencing severe depression and anxiety and engaged in self-mutilation and self-harm and attempted suicide, the lawsuit says.
Some of the acts of self-mutilation were committed at school and, the lawsuit says, educators took no action even when he displayed bloody sleeves.
His mother complained to her son’s counselor, and he reported the bullying to a teacher, the lawsuit says. But “this harassing and bullying conduct continued to escalate and apparently nothing sufficient was done,” the lawsuit alleges.