JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- David Githiiyu had a promising future. But at the age of 15, the Lee High School student committed suicide. Githiiyu's family believes bullying led to their son's suicide.
The family has notified the City of Jacksonville and Duval County Public Schools of a pending lawsuit. David's parents, Elizabeth Githiiyu and Ayub Njoroge, say that their son was "the victim of bullying and harassment by fellow students" and it happened in front of teachers, physical education teachers and administrators but they all "failed to follow Florida law" and help their son.
"All of that led up to David's suicide because he was afraid to go to school," says his mother.
Githiiyu's suicide happened the same day that he was supposed to go on a field trip to visit UCF. According to his family, the bus driver and teachers refused to allow David on the bus and then left without him. Elizabeth says her son was crying when he realized he wouldn't be able to go on the trip with his classmates. She dropped him off at home, only to return later and find David hanging with a belt around his neck, inside their home.
David's suicide happened in January of 2011. But time has done little to help David's family find peace.
"I feel like my family is half without my son," says Elizabeth.
David's family hopes their son's suicide puts the spotlight on a topic that isn't usually discussed, suicide. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third leading cause of death among 10 to 24-year olds. One of the attorneys representing David's family says that schools can learn something from David's suicide.
"What are the steps that are being taken to ensure that it doesn't go so far that the ultimate decision is made by the child to commit suicide -- I think that's one of the most important things we hope to accomplish," says attorney Charles Alford.
The school district has an anti-bullying policy. To read the policy or report bullying anonymously, click here.
As for the lawsuit, the school district and the city do not comment on pending litigation.