Ohio Principal Accused of Intimidating Parents in Girl’s Suicide Lawsuit Resigns
An Ohio teen killed herself after she allegedly suffered years of bullying, according to court documents.
A lawsuit was filed by the parents of 13-year-old Emilie Olsen against the Fairfield City School District, school administrators, and her alleged bullies. They claim the school and its administrators did nothing to stop her being bullied.
In the past several weeks, high-level school officials left their posts. Last week Fairfield Middle School Principal Lincoln Butts, a defendant, resigned for “personal reasons.”
Olsen shot and killed herself at home in December 2014.
According to a report from WCPO-TV last week, Butts resigned amid a lawsuit alleging he intimidated the parents, Cindy and Marc Olsen.
They claim he showed up at their home with two police officers after their daughter’s death.
The lawsuit alleges that Butts and police officers demanded that Marc Olsen let them into his house but refused to say why they were there. One officer showed his badge.
Their daughter had taken her own life just a few days prior.
Instead of giving them his sympathy, Butts attempted to “intimidate Marc Olsen into ‘shutting up’ and ceasing all interviews with the local media,” the suit claims. “They told Marc Olsen he was ‘stirring the pot’ and ‘entertaining rumors’ and in doing so ‘causing an issue for the school and the community,'” the Olsens said in a filing in federal court in April.
Marc Olsen told Butts and the police officers to leave his residence, and he said one of the cops told him to sit down because they weren’t finished talking to them. The officers and Butts also refused to leave.
Butts resignation is effective as of June 30.
“The District will be defending the litigation and will be providing appropriate responses in the course of the litigation. The District has no further comment at this time regarding this pending matter,” the school district said in a statement to WCPO.
The suit alleges that Emile, who is of Chinese descent, suffered discrimination due to her race. The complaint said she suffered abuse from classmates because she wore camouflage clothing and cowboy boots. They called her “fake country” because “Chinese people don’t wear camo,” according to The Washington Post. When she got to the sixth grade, she got targeted on social media websites, including a fake Instagram account. One classmate also followed her with a razor, telling her to “end her life.”
“I have a bad feeling that if nothing is done then this has the possibility to escalate into something worse,” Marc Olsen said via email to the school’s assistant principals after he heard about the bullying. He said he got a phone call from a principal, who told him they were “going to take care of the situation.”
No students were disciplined for a fight in the girl’s bathroom or the fake Instagram accounts, the suit claims.
By the time she got to the seventh grade, Emile’s bullying intensified and she began to inflict self-harm and have suicidal thoughts.
Nine other students in the lawsuit claim that they were bullied at Fairfield Middle School or Fairfield Intermediate School. One seventh grade girl said that she found an explicit note in her locker that read, in part, “Your life sucks it will be for the rest of the year if you remain here die in a hole because no one likes you.”
The Ohio Department of Education’s data had shown that bullying was widespread at Fairfield City Schools when Emilie went to school there.