A school district failed to report her suicidal thoughts to her parents, seven weeks later she was dead
The parents of a 12-year-old girl who died by suicide are now suing a school district in Sacramento, California.
"I wish I knew she felt that alone," Morgan Ocheltree said. She's the mother of Madison Ocheltree, who was just 12-years old when she texted a friend about being bullied and that she was contemplating suicide.
In a lawsuit, her mother alleges that on April 5, Madison's friend alerted a teacher, who shared the suicide threat with the principal and vice principal. A counselor met with Madison and promised to follow up.
"There was no call," Morgan said. "My husband and I weren't contacted. We didn't even know that she saw the counselor."
That, according to the lawsuit, violates the Yuba City School District policy on suicide prevention, which states: "Whenever a staff member suspects or has knowledge of a student's suicidal intentions, he/she shall promptly notify the principal or school counselor. The principal or counselor shall then notify the student's parents/guardians as soon as possible..."
"I am an involved parent. And my husband is an involved parent and we had no idea. All it would have taken is a phone call. That's it!"
Seven weeks after the initial text, the lawsuit claims that one or more of the persons who bullied Madison urged her to commit suicide as late as May 23, 2019.
That very next day, Madison Ocheltree turned in her homework assignment and hanged herself. She was just two weeks shy of her 13th birthday.
"She explicitly said that she wanted to commit suicide, mom said, getting emotional. "All it takes is a phone call!"
Our request for an interview with Yuba City School District officials was turned down. Madison's mother says she just wants other children to know there will be people who will listen if they speak up.
The CDC says suicide is the second-leading cause of death among children between ten and 14 years old.
For more information on suicide prevention,