A 15-year-old boy who was initially targeted by a false rumor that he was unvaccinated was bullied relentlessly until he took his own life in January, a lawsuit has claimed.
Nate Bronstein, 15, was found dead, hanging from the shower in their home with a noose tied around his neck.
The suit filed Monday against the Latin School of Chicago alleges administrators at the private college prep school, which charges more than $40,000 annually in tuition, committed “willful failure” to stop the incessant bullying, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Rose and Robert Bronstein had repeatedly raised concerns about their son’s struggle to adjust to his new school with administrators, which was detailed in a 68-page lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Cook County on Monday, but claim no action was taken.
It wasn’t until after Nate’s death, that they learned the extent of the bullying their son endured by his classmates. In the suit, Nate’s parents claim the school knew, but never reported it.
“Our son would still be alive today if Latin would have done their job and reported to us what had gone on within the school,” Rose Bronstein told CBS News. Nate’s parents described Nate as being a “super-sharp, funny kid.”
“He definitely wanted to go to a college that had big time sports,” his father Robert Bronstein told CBS News. “He loved to make people laugh, and laugh himself.”
But the school was “a toxic culture,” Rose said. “So toxic that we lost our son from it.” In one incident, Nate and a fellow student at Latin were talking about the upcoming Homecoming dance, but was told he was not allowed to join this student or the student’s friends.
Days later, Nate learned that the student had been spreading rumors around Latin that he was unvaccinated. The last time he was in the student’s home, the student’s mother told Nate, “it must suck to have to take a Covid test every week” to which Nate replied, “I’m vaccinated.” The student’s mother sarcastically replied, “yeah right.”
The suit went on to expound on other incidents that stemmed from the rumors, like when Nate had been approached at school by students on two separate occasions with both students asking him if his parents were “anti-vaxxers” following the incident with the student and student’s mother.
Nate’s parents reached out to the student’s parents and to the school to resolve the matter which only made matters worse because it led to continued harassment of Nate.
The school dismissed the allegations as “unfounded claims” while vowing to “vigorously defend” itself in court.
“Our hearts go out to the family, and we wish them healing and peace,” the statement read. “With respect to their lawsuit, however, the allegations of wrongdoing by the school officials are inaccurate and misplaced. The school’s faculty and staff are compassionate people who put students’ interests first, as they did in this instance.”