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Should NH allow school liability for suicide?


Earlier this month, the father of an MIT graduate student brought a lawsuit against the school claiming the college was responsible for his son’s death in 2009. The family says the school knew their son was a suicide risk and did nothing to prevent it. MIT says it tried to provide the student with services, but he refused as he wanted to keep his private and academic lives separate.​ Read more about this issue.

"Should New Hampshire allow schools to be held liable for a student’s suicide?"

Discussion held on Citizens Count NH website and Facebook page November 14, 2017

177 citizens responded 138 citizens were opposed to holding schools liable for student suicides30 citizens were in favor of holding schools liable for student suicides 9 citizens commented on related questions or issues
What Participants Said

No: 138 citizens were against allowing schools to be held liable for a student’s suicide.

  • “No, the only one responsible for a suicide is the one that does the deed.”
  • “As a father who lost a child to suicide I say no. How are the schools to blame?”
  • “My brother ended up taking his own life. I still say no. It's unreasonable to think 50 adults can control the social interactions of every child there. And most bullying now is done out of school.”

Yes: 30 citizens were in favor of allowing schools to be held liable for a student’s suicide.

  • “If the teachers and guidance counselors knew there was a problem and chose to ignore it, yes, they are accountable.”
  • “If the school is knowingly allowing bulling and doing nothing to stop it then yes, they should. Some teachers are bullies too.”
  • “Yes if they were negligent in some way, in the way that a bar can be held liable for selling too many drinks.”

Other: 9 citizens addressed their comments to related questions and issues.
These included:  

  • Bullying: “Bullying should be a serious offense punishable by a very large fine, suspension, and a permanent record.”
  • Other liability for suicides: “What about a company?”
  • Mental illness: “I don’t think mental illness is that cut and dry. Many people suffering from severe depression don’t show the typical telltale signs.”

*Editor selection of actual participant quotes.

Read the full Facebook discussion of this question.


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