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Parents of bullied teen to speak out

By the CNN Wire Staff
Jon Carmichael's parents say their son, 13, committed suicide last year after relentless bullying at school.
Jon Carmichael's parents say their son, 13, committed suicide last year after relentless bullying at school.
  • 13-year-old Jon Carmichael committed suicide in Texas last year
  • His parents say relentless bullying at school led teen to hang himself
  • Their lawsuit blames school, says it turned a blind eye to many incidents
  • School district has no comment on suit but says it works hard to prevent bullying
  • Bullying
  • Family
  • Texas

(CNN) -- The family and friends of Jon Carmichael will speak out Thursday about his suicide and the effects of bullying.

His parents say it was bullying that led the 13-year-old to commit suicide, hanging himself in a barn near his home in Cleburne, Texas.

The family is scheduled to speak at a news conference, that comes four days after the first anniversary of Carmichael's death.

On that anniversary, his parents, Jon Timothy and Tami Carmichael, filed a $20 million federal lawsuit against several officials at the school Jon attended, alleging they deliberately turned a blind eye to the bullying of their son, prompting his death.

In the lawsuit, documents state that staff and students at The Joshua Independent School District observed several explicit acts of bullying, including Jon being thrown into a trash can "easily a few times a week," but did nothing to stop it.

"He was placed upside down in a toilet bowl, and had his head flushed several times, at each occasion. These acts were observed by other students who failed to report the incident," the documents said. "Just prior to his death he was stripped nude, tied up and again placed into a trashcan."

The lawsuit states that event was taped and put on YouTube, but was taken down "at the direction of an unknown staff member, who also failed to report the incident."

Carmichael family attorney Martin J. Cirkiel said the family's goal in issuing the lawsuit is to educate.

"On the human level, the family wants what every family wants when they come to me in these kind of cases. They want to make sure it doesn't happen to someone else," the attorney said.

Cirkiel said the family would like to see a program developed in their son's name and to be able to open a trust fund for kids who need it who are being bullied.

"They want to increase planning and education," he said.