The mother of a 12-year-old girl who committed suicide in May after being bullied at her North Side school for more than a year filed a lawsuit Thursday against Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Board of Education.
McKenzie Phlipot, a 6th-grader at Helen Peirce School of International Studies in Andersonville, hanged herself on May 8 after a year-and-a-half of being bullied at school, according to the suit filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court.
An autopsy the next day found she died of asphyxia and hanging, and her death was ruled a suicide, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.
The suit alleges CPS failed to protect McKenzie after her mother, Beth Martin, contacted the school on several occasions to report the bullying. As a result, McKenzie suffered both physical and emotional injuries that led to her suicide.
“The school was aware of this bullying and did not follow the steps mandated by the CPS code to stop this behavior,” Robert Bingle, Martin’s attorney, said in a statement.
The two-count lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of damages.
“The continued bullying that McKenzie suffered at school should never have been allowed,” Beth Martin, McKenzie’s mother, said in a statement.
“I live with the pain of McKenzie’s loss every day and want to help make sure no other child will have to endure the physical and emotional torment she experienced at school,” Martin said.
CPS would not comment on the lawsuit.