San Diego

Mom Claims School Didn't Do Enough to Prevent Bullying That Led to Son's Suicide

A Logan Heights woman wants justice for her son, whom she says took his own life because he was bullied at school.

Zulema Guzman has filed a negligence and wrongful death lawsuit against King Chavez Academy of Excellence Corporation and the San Diego Unified School District claiming her 14-year-old son German Guzman took his own life on Nov. 16, 2017 because he was being bullied. 

Students at the school picked on him because they mistakenly thought he was gay, said the mother’s attorney, Michael Carrillo.

The lawsuit alleges the administration of King Chavez Freshman Academy failed to take immediate steps to intervene and/or to prevent the bullying. Even though school personnel new and voiced concerns about the bullying, the suit alleges the bullies were not stopped.

"Today marks six months since German has been gone... A sweet boy who knew what to say to make you smile and laugh -- a 14-year-old who loved music dance food and having a good time. He never bothered anyone," German Guzman’s mother said at a news conference Wednesday. 

The suit also said the day before German Guzman was found hanged in his home, the school had called San Diego police officers to the school. The school never told his mother police interviewed her son, according to the lawsuit.

Carillo said, had Zulema Guzman been told, she would have taken further steps to protect her son that night.

"She found out too late," Carrillo said. "The school should have notified the mother, the school should have told her what was going on at school."

Carillo said in the past, the school has said it did not notify the mother because of confidentiality reasons. The school did not get back to NBC 7with a comment about the suit. 

Carrillo said he is still trying to find answers to what happened at the school that day. He told NBC7 the school psychologist whom the teenager was seeing called the police.

San Diego police confirmed they did respond to the school on that day November 15.

"The circumstances at the time determined there was nothing more for police to do. A police report was taken, but because the incident involves a juvenile no additional information can be provided," SDPD told NBC 7. 

The San Diego Unified School District said King Chavez is a charter school. It is not operated by the district.

If you or someone you know is feeling depressed or suicidal please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). The lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress as well as prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.

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