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Family of bullied girl sues Yucaipa-Calimesa School District

Parents of bullied Yucaipa teen who committed suicide file lawsuit against school district

YUCAIPA, Calif. - The family of a 13-year-old San Bernardino County girl who took her own life last month after enduring months of bullying at school is filing a lawsuit against the Yucaipa-Calimesa School District.

On Nov. 28, Rosalie Avila hung herself in her bedroom following months of bullying.

Her parents said she was bullied at Mesa View Middle School in Calimesa and claim that school officials were aware of the severity of the bullying and did nothing to stop it.

Avila's family and their lawyer, Brian Claypool, announced they are filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the joint school district. The lawsuit claims the school was negligent and failed to take appropriate action to keep Rosalie safe.

The lawsuit also claims the school was negligent and failed to take appropriate action against the alleged bullies. 

According to Rosalie's family, the young girl was taunted, called names, and by October she began cutting herself.

In addition to the lawsuit, the Avila's have announced a plan to advocate for a new legislation in regard to bullying. They are calling it Rosie's Law.

The law would require schools across the country to implement suicide prevention programs on campus.

The Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District issued this statement in a press release:

Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the Avila family. Our students, teachers, staff and the communities are mourning the loss of Rosalie as well. Yucaipa-Calimesa School District is committed to working with its students and the community on academics, student safety and well-being. We strive every day to be a safe, supportive and engaging learning environment. We will continue to raise awareness and work with students and the community to support our children. The issue of suicide awareness and prevention is very important to discuss and address as a community.

We are cooperating fully with the Sheriff's office as it conducts its investigation. We are also conducting our own internal investigation. Given that these efforts are ongoing, and due to our commitment to protecting the privacy of our students and their families, we cannot share any details at this time.

There will be a community vigil in Rosie's honor on Monday at 6 p.m. at Set Free Church, which is located at 13700 Calimesa Blvd., in Yucaipa.

A public viewing will take place on Tuesday, from 5-9 p.m. at Rose Hills Memorial Park located at 3888 Workman Mill Rd., in Whittier.

Rosalie's burial service will be held Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Rose Hills Memorial Park. 

 

The National Institute of Mental Health encourages people to seek help if your or someone you know are experiencing the behaviors listed below, as they may be signs of suicide:

  • Talking about wanting to die or wanting to kill themselves
  • Talking about feeling empty, hopeless, or having no reason to live
  • Making a plan or looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online, stockpiling pills, or buying a gun
  • Talking about great guilt or shame
  • Talking about feeling trapped or feeling that there are no solutions
  • Feeling unbearable pain (emotional pain or physical pain)
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Using alcohol or drugs more often
  • Acting anxious or agitated
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Changing eating and/or sleeping habits
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Taking great risks that could lead to death, such as driving extremely fast
  • Talking or thinking about death often
  • Displaying extreme mood swings, suddenly changing from very sad to very calm or happy
  • Giving away important possessions
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family
  • Putting affairs in order, making a will

If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently. One resource is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1-800-799-4889.

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