After parents said cyberbullying at Latin School led to suicide of their 15-year-old son, experts weigh in on actions schools should take
CHICAGO (CBS) -- Nate Bronstein's parents said cyberbullying by his classmates caused the 15-year-old boy's to take his own life.
In a lawsuit filed this week Nate's parents claimed that the Latin School of Chicago could have done more to stop it.
CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey broke the story on Monday, and it is now raising questions about what schools should be doing.
We should stress that the Latin School is denying all of the allegations in the lawsuit filed this week — but Nate's tragic story is starting a conversation about what helps and what hurts when it comes to the victims of bullying.
"Our son would still be alive today if Latin would have done their job, and reported to us what had gone on in the school," Nate's mother, Rose Bronstein, said in our Monday report.
Robert and Rose Bronstein tell Hickey that even though it's required by Illinois law, they were never told that in December their son, Nate, asked for a meeting with his dean of students at Latin to report that several students were bullying him via a text message thread and on Snapchat.
The dean listened, but took no disciplinary action and didn't notify Nate's parents, according to the lawsuit filed this week.
Latin said "the allegations of wrongdoing by the school officials are inaccurate and misplaced."
But sadly, one month later, Nate took his own life.
"Illinois has among the strongest anti-bullying laws in the United States, but Latin doesn't follow them, so here we are," said Robert Bronstein.
Ross Ellis, chief executive officer of national organization STOMP Out Bullying, agrees that Illinois' current laws are strong.
"Illinois is good. Massachusetts is good. There are some that are very good," Ellis said. "However, it's incumbent upon the schools to put the laws into place. They don't. That's the number one problem."
But Ellis believes that while notifying parents is essential, education is just as important.
"A solution would be yes, get mandated training for everyone in the school principal, vice principal, guidance counselor, all teachers - everyone in that capacity - and it's got to be mandated," she said.
Vitto Mendez with the National Association of People Against Bullying said Illinois currently has no required anti-bullying training. And his research shows it could make all the difference.
"And that was shown and my study to significantly decrease the probability that a student would be bullied when states do have those staff training requirements," Mendez said.
A Latin School spokesperson did not respond to Hickey's question about whether or not teachers complete any anti-bullying training courses.
We did reach out to the Illinois State Board of Education about the possibility of required anti-bullying training and whether it could be mandated at the state level. We were still waiting for a response late Tuesday.
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