Glasgow School District says it will seek dismissal of suit related to teen's death

By John Breslin | Oct 23, 2018

A Missouri school district will ask a state court to dismiss a wrongful death suit alleging human rights and personal injury violations filed by the mother of a teenage who committed suicide after being allegedly bullied and harassed.

The suit filed by the mother of Kenneth Suttner, who killed himself in December 2016, moves back to Howard County Circuit Court after a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri dismissed the federal suit against Glasgow School District.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Willie Epps Jr. dismissed six claims taken by Angela Suttner against the school district and four individuals, including the superintendent. He ruled that one count was a duplicate and that Angela Suttner had not "exhausted all administrative remedies" under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) prior to filing the suit.

"While the plaintiff asserts she did complain to school faculty numerous times over the years, such actions alone are insufficient to exhaust administrative remedies under the IDEA," Epps wrote in his judgment, according to a posting on abc17news.com. "Plaintiff therefore cannot show it would have been futile to exhaust administrative options."  

The claims in state court, where the suit was first filed prior to removal to the federal bench, are based on the Missouri Human Rights Act and various personal Injury claims, Tom MIckes, the attorney for Glasgow School District, told the St. Louis Record.

Mickes, of the MIckes O'Toole law firm in St. Louis, said the school district will seek to dismiss the suit and has until early November to file a motion.

"It would be our hope that they are dismissed, but (I am) not making any projections," Mickes said, adding that the claim of human rights violations was not filed in a timely manner.

Angela Suttner, in her complaint at the state and federal level, alleged her son was bullied and harassed by students and employees of the district. He suffered from mental and physical disabilities, which drove the bullying and lead to his death.

The 17-year-old also is alleged to have suffered serious bullying at his workplace, particularly from a supervisor of the Dairy Queen where he was employed.

Following Suttner's death, Harley Branham, 21, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, a charge later dropped, according to a posting on komu.com. She still faces charges of felony aggravated stalking misdemeanor counts of harassment and assault.

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