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Mother Files Lawsuit Following Daughter’s Suicide

Rio Allred, 12, died by suicide last March due to harassment and bullying from her classmates, and her mother is holding the school district accountable in a lawsuit for its inaction.

Massillamany Jeter & Carson LLP partner Tom Blessing is representing Allred’s mother, Niki Ball, who alleges that classmate harassment against her daughter for her appearance and sexual orientation drove her to suicide.

In 2021, Allred was a sixth grader at North Side Middle School when she was diagnosed with alopecia. Alopecia is an autoimmune condition that causes one to lose their hair. After wearing hats and wigs to cope with her condition, Allred decided to shave her head. What ensued was a torrent of verbal torment from her peers, who called her names and made cruel comments. Allred was also subjected to physical abuse, which included students smacking her head, shoving her into walls, choking her, and one student who repeatedly struck her with a trombone case.

Despite numerous reports of these incidents, which include those witnessed by school staff, administrators were apparently indifferent to the harassment against Allred. Her mother alleges that the administrators’ indifference was deliberate and violated her daughter’s rights under Title IX, which federally protects public school students against sexual harassment and sex discrimination.

For more information about this lawsuit as it develops, contact Massillamany Jeter & Carson LLP.