The parents of Alex Moore, the Chilton County teen who committed suicide two years ago, have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Chilton County Board of Education.
Alex Moore committed suicide at the age of 15 by jumping off a bridge onto I-65 in May 2010. Her parents, Jill and Jim Moore, have said bullying may have led their daughter to take her own life. Michael Zimmerman, an attorney for the Moores, says the parents hope the lawsuit will prevent this from happening to another child.
The 20-page document was filed in court Monday, May 14, 2012. The lawsuit describes Alex Moore, a Jemison High School student, as a bright and caring child who was "not really any different from other high school students in her interests, her school performance or her family life."
The lawsuit says two things set Alex Moore apart and made her a prime target for bullying. It says she was overweight and also had Blount's Disease, a growth disorder that caused her lower legs to angle inward.
"Blount's Disease caused A.M. [Alex Moore] to be unusually slow, not active, unable to participate in physical activity, and often late to class and other engagements," the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit goes on to say, "Because of her appearance, her social activities, her weight and her physical challenges, A.M. was a target for a wide variety of bullies at school. As is outlined in detail below, the bullying was constant; it was brutal; it came from students of all types, colors and sizes. In legal parlance, it was severe and pervasive, and could not fail to be noticed."
The lawsuit cites specific instances describing how Alex was bullied by other students, including having her pants and underwear stripped down in front of a group of her peers, being locked in the janitor's closet and being a target of so-called "pig races" on the school bus. The lawsuit describes the "pig races" as episodes where senior male students would "chase and catch a girl that they thought was the ugliest and fattest girl, and to kiss that girl on the cheek." The lawsuit alleges that Alex Moore was "often singled out by the senior boys, to the perverse delight of onlookers, including the bus driver employed by the school."
The Moores say in the lawsuit that the teachers, coaches, staff and administrators knew about the bullying and "did nothing to address it, or to respond to it, or to stop it."
It states, "Rather than support A.M., the Defendant's personnel enabled the bullying and tormenting. They criticized A.M. for being late; they punished here with detentions and time-out for being victimized. They abandoned her on the school bus, in the classroom, in the hallways, and in the janitor' s closet."
Jill and Jim Moore are suing the Chilton County Board of Education on behalf of Alex Moore's estate and say it is her death and rights that are at issue in this case.