‘We Fell Tragically Short’: Boarding School Admits Fault In Student’s Suicide

[Screenshot/YouTube/The Lawrenceville School]

Font Size:

One year after the suicide of one of its students, a New Jersey boarding school on Sunday admitted it had failed to protect the teen from the unrelenting bullying attacks that led to his decision to take his own life.

Marking the anniversary of 17-year-old Jack Reid’s death, Lawrenceville School took responsibility for its failure to look after the “physical, social, and emotional health, safety, and wellbeing” of their students. “We recognize that in Jack’s case, we fell tragically short of these expectations,” the school stated. (RELATED: 11-Year-Old Kills Herself After Being Bullied, Mother Says)

Reid, who attended the prestigious boarding school since the Fall of 2020, became the victim of bullying in the spring of 2021 when a false rumor spread claiming that he was a rapist, according to The New York Times. The rumors persisted at the start of the following school year and worsened after Reid was elected president of Dickinson House, a residential home for the boarding school students, the outlet stated.

After the false report was spread online, Reid was further ostracized, receiving a rape whistle and a book on how to make friends during a secret Santa gift exchange at the school. “When these behaviors were brought to the attention of the School, there were steps that the School should in hindsight have taken but did not, including the fact that the School did not make a public or private statement that it investigated and found rumors about Jack that were untrue. There also were circumstances in which the involvement of an adult would have made a difference,” the school said in their statement.

On April 30, 2022, a student who had previously bullied Reid returned to Dickinson House after being expelled for an unrelated circumstance. Despite knowing the previous history with this student, school administrators did not notify or check in on Reid after the student’s return, the statement revealed. After reportedly telling a friend he could not go through the bullying again, Reid took his own life in his dorm room, leaving a note in his pocket directing his parents to a Google document detailing his reasons, The New York Times reported.

“We think bullying, with the 1,000 times echo chamber of the internet and everybody knowing, is much more devastating to kids and, in Jack’s case, produced a very impulsive act,” Reid’s father Bill told the New York Times. “He had to escape the pain from the humiliation he was feeling.” (RELATED: New Jersey Freshman Takes Her Own Life After Video Posted Of Teens Beating Her In School Hallway)

Since the death of Reid, the school has focused on training and education programs designed to prevent the circumstances that led to Reid’s suicide. In addition the school is planning to work with an expert on school bullying to help establish policies to effectively address behaviors that lead to bullying and cyberbullying. In addition, the school will hire a Dean of Campus Wellbeing to address mental health issues among the student body and will consult with outside experts as needed, the statement read.

“There is, of course, nothing that will ever make up for the tragedy of losing this promising and beloved young man. But it is the hope of all of us that Jack’s memory is honored,” the school stated.