Mom Sues City In Suicide Of Son
The mother of a 12-year-old Astoria boy who killed himself after classmates constantly harassed him, is suing the city Department of Education (DOE), charging administrators at P.S. 84, failed to take action to stop the bullying.
Borgouhi Elissa said schoolmates harassed her son, Elijah Mendes, because they thought he was gay. The abuse continued until the boy couldn’t take it anymore, so he hanged himself in his family’s home on March 25, a family attorney said.
“No child should be afraid to go to school,” Elissa said in a prepared statement. “I believe that the school’s inaction brought about the death of my son.”
Elissa contends in the lawsuit that Elijah was subjected to repeated and frequent taunting, ridicule, threatening, abuse and bullying” and that he was harassed due to his perceived sexual orientation.
Elissa said she complained to school officials on 10 occasions. The harassment began when Elijah was in the fifth grade, she said.
Elijah suffered physical and psychological injuries, distress, pain, suffering, anguish, grief and mental and emotional suffering, the lawsuit states.
Elissa is seeking reimbursement of funeral expenses and undisclosed damages from the city Department of Education.
Elissa said she hopes some good will result from the loss of her son.
“Nothing can lessen the pain of a mother who has lost a child,” she said in the statement. “We hope that ultimately, this tragedy will increase people’s awareness and thereby bring about change that will help protect other children.”