Parents Whose Son Reportedly Committed Suicide Over Bullying Sue School For Allegedly Fighting Records Request

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Parents are suing a Chicago prep school for allegedly refusing to honor a records request for their son, who committed suicide in 2022 after allegedly being “relentlessly” bullied by other students, according to a Tuesday report in the Chicago Tribune.

Robert and Rosellene Bronstein reportedly filed the most recent lawsuit against the Latin School of Chicago on June 5. The couple initially sued the school in April 2022, alleging their son Nate committed suicide over intense bullying at the prep school, according to the outlet.

The parents alleged in the first lawsuit that a Latin School student started a rumor about Nate’s perceived COVID-19 vaccination status, claiming Nate had not received the vaccine when in fact he had, according to the Tribune. Nate reportedly became the victim of bullying over the alleged rumor. Members of the school’s basketball team cyber-bullied Nate via Snapchat, according to the outlet, and one student allegedly sent Nate a Snapchat message encouraging him to commit suicide in December 2021. (RELATED: ‘Save Their State’: Parental Rights Symposium Series Kicks-Off In California)

Nate subsequently set up a meeting with a school official to discuss the alleged bullying, according to the Tribune, but the school turned a “blind eye” to the situation and the family’s “increasingly desperate” calls for help, the Bronsteins reportedly claimed in their initial suit.

“We are entitled to our child’s school records, regardless of a loss,” Robert Bronstein said, according to the Tribune. “Any parent is, and the school has that statement in their policies and in their handbook that says if a parent wants their children’s school files, here’s the department that you go to. They are refusing because, obviously, whatever’s in the school files will show their negligence.”

“We were aware of the bullying because he would come home and share with us information about what kids were doing to him,” Rosellene Bronstein told the outlet. “The isolation, the exclusion, the not feeling welcome. But Rob and I were not made aware of the cyberbullying that happened — ever.”

Nate allegedly met with Upper School dean Bridget Hennessy on Dec. 12, 2021, regarding the purported cyberbullying. His parents learned of the meeting Jan. 27, 2022, according to the Tribune. Their son reportedly died one day later at age 15.

“They don’t want us to put it out in the public,” Rochelle said, according to the outlet. “They don’t want us to embarrass them, but we’re entitled to do whatever we want with our children’s school files. They belong to us.” She reportedly added she will never be able to fully move on from her son’s death, but that she wants to raise awareness about bullying.

“As human beings, we will never heal from this,” Rochelle continued. “It terrorizes me and haunts me day after day. I suffer from severe post-traumatic stress disorder from this as well. No human being should ever have to go through this, but our mission is to heighten awareness of how dangerous bullying and cyberbullying is. I don’t think that society has woken up to the fact that this is an urgent crisis and a true epidemic.”

“[O]ut of respect for all involved, we believe it is not appropriate to comment on this litigation at this time,” the Latin School wrote in an email to the Tribune on Thursday.

Robert and Rosellene allegedly spent two months requesting to see their son’s records but the school still declined, according to the outlet.

Parents are entitled to access their child’s files after requesting an appointment, the Latin School’s handbook says. A student’s files may include grades, standardized test scores, teacher notes, disciplinary actions and communications with the student, according to the outlet. The school’s lawyer, Michael Trucco, reportedly said the handbook isn’t a “contractual obligation” upon rejecting the Bronsteins’ records request, the Tribune reported.

Trucco also accused Nate’s parents of repeatedly making public remarks regarding school faculty and administration “that are incomplete, misleading, disparaging and defamatory” as further justification for denying their records request, according to the outlet.

“What we’ve learned is that it’s a toxic culture, and it’s arrogant and errs on the side of ‘because we have this prestigious reputation, because people are lining up to pay us $43,000 a year to send our kids here, we don’t have to follow the rules,'” Robert said, according to the outlet.

“They don’t care about the students, they don’t care about the families, they certainly don’t care about the victims. They selfishly worry about themselves, their endowment, their careers; every action they’ve taken has shown callousness, and selfishness, and a tremendous disrespect to our son and his memory,” Rosellene reportedly added.

Nate’s parents intend to donate any money they win in the legal proceedings to anti-bullying organizations, according to the Tribune. They are reportedly seeking a total of $100 million across multiple accounts in the initial suit.