This claim involves a teenage girl who committed suicide after experiencing repeated bullying at her high school in Maine. There were numerous incidents of bullying documented by the schools administration, however, despite knowledge by senior school administrators that the bullying was taking place, little action was taken to rectify the situation. It was alleged that the school failed to take appropriate action to stop or prevent the bullying, and that the ongoing bullying directly contributed to the girl’s suicide.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Have you ever served as an expert witness on a claim involving bullying or suicide?
- 2. Do you routinely treat or work with young adults who are depressed and subjected to bullying at school?
Expert Witness Response E-000381
Adolescent psychology as it relates to bullying and suicide is my specialty, and I have served as an expert on a number of cases similar to this with great success. I have plenty of hands-on experience at some of the country’s most prestigious medical institutions treating young adults subjected to bullying at schools, and can speak to this individual’s brain development and coping ability as it relates to bullying, as well as their proclivity to commit suicide. While I can’t speak to the protocols used by this school to prevent or stop bullying, I can say that ongoing bullying does increase the risk of suicide on the part of the victim.
Expert Witness Response E-004761
I routinely treat and work with young adults and adolescent patients who suffer from depression and suicidal behavior resulting from school bullying. I am a board certified psychiatrist with extensive experience in residential treatment psychiatric care. I am also a fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and I have spent more than 20 years serving as the medical director across a number of hospitals, psychiatric institutions, and other relevant practices. Currently, I serve as the medical director of a residential treatment facility focusing on depression, bipolar disorder, trauma, addiction, behavioral issues, and co-occurring disorders. If the school administration was aware of an ongoing pattern of abuse, then they should have taken steps to stop it and provide support to the victim.