Forums > Social Discussion > Mother sentenced for sons suicide.

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robotface


member


Total posts: 190
Posted:Quote:
MERIDEN, Conn. (AP) - A woman who was convicted of creating an environment that contributed to her 12-year-old son's suicide after constant bullying at school received a suspended sentence Friday.

Judith Scruggs showed no visible emotion as she was placed on probation for five years by Superior Court Judge Stephen Frazzini. She also must undergo counseling and perform 100 hours of community service.

J. Daniel Scruggs hanged himself in his bedroom closet with a necktie on Jan. 2, 2002.

``I'll miss him dearly every day of my life,'' Judith Scruggs told reporters outside the courthouse.


Scruggs, 52, told police Daniel was afraid of bullies who had kicked and punched him, and he slept in his closet with knives out of fear. A filthy home contributed to his body odor, which apparently contributed to the bad situation at school, and authorities said his mother should have done more to improve the situation.



Legal experts said they believe the conviction, on a risk of injury charge, may have been the first time a parent was found guilty of contributing to her child's suicide.



``The law requires parents and care givers to protect their children, to keep them safe, to make sure they are not subjected to risks to their health,'' Frazzini said.



Witnesses described a home where there was barely room to move because of clothes, boxes, papers and debris covering the floor. The air was foul. The bathroom floor and tub were covered with clothes, the fixtures soiled.



Scruggs' attorney described her as a single parent who worked long hours to support two children. Her supporters rallied outside the courthouse Friday morning, with one holding a sign that read ``Punish the bullies, not the grieving mothers.''



Scruggs could have received up to 10 years in prison, but prosecutors instead recommended probation. She has filed suit against the city and school system, claiming teachers and others did not do enough to protect her son from bullies.



http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-4090692,00.html
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im not sure if chargeing her was the right thing. The mother is to blame, but so is the school system and social workers who didn't intervene and save this kids life.

There have been cases in the past where parents should have been charged for leading to their kids suicide, but without knowing the details of this mothers financial situation and how many hours she had to work to keep her kids fed and off the streets I can't say one way or another if she should be charged.

If she worked so long she simply had no opportunity to cllean the houses, mixed with a major mental disorder like clinical depression, then it's unfair to charge her.

Ive been in this kids position and have come awfully close to doing the same thing he did, at a younger age then he was when he ended his life and it took me a long time after the bullying had stopped to sort my life out. eek


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mrFlibble
SILVER Member since Mar 2003

Ghostbuster
Location: York, UK

Total posts: 455
Posted:I think its a bit unfair to prosecute the mother. Its the bullies who should have been prosecuted, and the school for not doing enough to stop the bullying going on in its premises.

Also if i was that 12 year old kid i'd have washed more and used deodorant or something - nobody is completely incompetent in keeping good personal hygiene at that age!!!!


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Burzaruka


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Total posts: 233
Posted:Now that the child is gone, it does seem pointless to charge the mother, however, the condition of the house is clearly breaking the law and those children should have been removed from her care years ago, untill she became a fit mother again.

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robotface


member


Total posts: 190
Posted:at 12 maybe, but im guessing this kids been targeted by bullies since he was much younger, even if he put upmost importance of hygine, the stigma will never leave him and the bullies will always target him. Hell quite often these kids change schools, and the way they behave from being bullied so much makes them a victim again so they can never escape it on their own.

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Spanner
BRONZE Member since Feb 2003

Spanner

remembers when it was all fields round here
Location: in the works... somewhere..., ...

Total posts: 2790
Posted:I can hardly believe this frown

She may have not kept the house clean enough, but if not, it's likely she had problems herself. The sad thing is, those who do have difficulty can find themselves asking for help over and over again, simply being overlooked until something like this happens.

The law seems to have ignored the the bullies, surprise surprise. Even if the mother could have reasonably made his situation better, is it not enough punishment that her son is gone? frown


"I thought you are man, but
you are nice woman.

yay,

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robotface


member


Total posts: 190
Posted:But what if she didn't have problems?

for all we know she came home from work and went out to hang with her friends everynight. Thats why I was trying to refrain from judgeing in my post.


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Spanner
BRONZE Member since Feb 2003

Spanner

remembers when it was all fields round here
Location: in the works... somewhere..., ...

Total posts: 2790
Posted:Quote:
for all we know she came home from work and went out to hang with her friends everynight. Thats why I was trying to refrain from judgeing in my post.



I see your point, but that's assuming she has any friends...


"I thought you are man, but
you are nice woman.

yay,

:R"

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robotface


member


Total posts: 190
Posted:thats my point, all we can do is assume.

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Burzaruka


enthusiast


Total posts: 233
Posted:So if this kid had decided to pull a columbine instead of a scuicide, would you (being anyone including me) still be blaming the bullies, the mother... or would the courts be after musicians?

Man thats a hard question, atleast for me.


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robotface


member


Total posts: 190
Posted:I would be blameing all of them.

This kid holds some blame for his own suicide aswell.


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gita
SILVER Member since Oct 2003

gita

.:*distracted by shiny things*:.
Location: brizvegas, Australia

Total posts: 3776
Posted:i cannot express how much i am in shock. i realise that sentence probably makes no sense, but that in itself illustrates my point! i nearly cried when i read that story! frown

how can a mother be charged over her sons suicide? that is as ridiculous as it is cruel. yes, she probably should have done more to clean up or help her son. yes, the school should have stepped in and said something. yes, the bullies are little censored who will hopefully realise that they had a part in this kid's death & curb if not stop their bullying of other kids.

sorry if i sound like i'm ranting. i'm still in shock. i am trying (by trying i mean, i've finished studying, now gotta find a real job) to get into working with young people on issues like suicide. so this article is well...blowing my mind. i just can't get my head around the logic behind charging a mother over her son's decision to take his own life. sorry if anyone disagrees, but i think it's disgusting, shocking and sad. frown



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originalsmit
SILVER Member since Aug 2003

originalsmit

addict
Location: nottingham, england. cornwall ...

Total posts: 469
Posted:

theres nothing i can say except why ?

why wasnt it picked up on earlier.?

thats my only concern

sentancing the mother after the son is dead is a waste of time. it all needed doing before it was too late before the poor sod was dead

you can argue the toss over the sentance all you like the fact is that the system had already failed by this point allowing this to happen.

after all spending X million dollars continually increasing government stockpiles of oil is definitly a good use of cash.

i cant think of a better one thats for sure.







can you??


my original signature was tooo long.
this one is shorter

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Dunc
GOLD Member since Aug 2003

Dunc

playing the days away
Location: The Middle lands, United Kingd...

Total posts: 7263
Posted:I can understand how they may include the mothers role in the household and her kids life as insufficient but surely the route cause of his death is bullying. Regardless of how unkempt the child was bullying should be stamped out thoroughly. I was a victim as a kid, being the tallest always made me the target especially when I changed schools.
Penalising the mother in this manor at this point is simply pathetic, I hope the judge is ashamed of themself.

Does anyone know if any action has been taken against the school aswell for their obvious failings in providing a safe place to be educated 8 hours a day?!?


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robotface


member


Total posts: 190
Posted:Why didn't the mother do anything about her sons obvious derangement? Sleeping in his closet with a knife? At what point do parents have responsibility to look after their childrens mental illness.

I think the circumstances would have to be fairly abhorable to justify the sentencing, but at what point is it justified?

And I think the purpose of the probation is to force her into counseling, she does have other children. Should she not have to look after her self and her home for their benefit aswell? Or should they just leave the whole family to rot in their disgusting home with their overworked mother who pays so little attention to her children she doesn't act when they hide in a closet with a knife everynight to sleep? (im assumeing here she didn't try to reach out to her child)

i think if they wanted a precedent setting case to put legal responsibility on parents, they should have picked one where the parents were verbally abusive to their child etc.. leading to the suicide. Theres a fine line here between a childs personal responsibility for his life, and his caretakers responsibility. But I think it's pretty obvious when people reach a certain point others are responsible for their life, or why does modern psychology order inpatient commitment to suicidal people? I spent 3 months in a psych ward due to depression and being suicidal and if someone didn't look after me at the times I was to far gone in that psych ward, I would have been dead now. Yes it's still my choice, but honestly I don't think I was in any condition at times in that psych ward to possibly be able to make proper choices about my life.



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Dunc
GOLD Member since Aug 2003

Dunc

playing the days away
Location: The Middle lands, United Kingd...

Total posts: 7263
Posted:But who says that the mother has all her marbles anyway? If the situation is so abhorable at their house to justify the sentancing and state the guilt of the mother causing her sons suicide, surely she would have had her other children taken off her immediately??

And if the son was sleeping in his closet, his safe place, it doesn't make him derranged, and commiting suicide doesn't prove this either. It's certainly not obvious. If a kid has a happy place and feels secure what mother would pull him out and make his sleep elsewhere?? Because she was crap doesn't make her guily.

But I think there's a lot of details missing here, not a lot of it ties up.


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robotface


member


Total posts: 190
Posted:interput the word deranged however you like, it's not a disparging remark, the kid was paranoid as hell to sleep with a knife in the first place. Im not saying she should "pull him out" of his closet, but perhaps it's a sign that maybe the kid had better get some profesional help?

Also, what if she didn't lose her marbles? Your assumeing just as much as I am.


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NYC


NYC

NYC
Location: NYC, NY, USA

Total posts: 9232
Posted:The only accusations were that "The mother could have done more"... there are NO facts in the short 'news bulletin' above for any of us to conclude either way whether or not she was at fault of this.

But a total lack of facts isn't stopping any of you from having an opinion is it. wink


Well, shall we go?
Yes, let's go.
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Dunc
GOLD Member since Aug 2003

Dunc

playing the days away
Location: The Middle lands, United Kingd...

Total posts: 7263
Posted:That's why there's If's wink

Like I said, I think there's lots of details missing. There must have been lots of other stuff goin on for the case to turn out like this....if only we knew what!


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pounce
SILVER Member since Jan 2003

pounce

All the neurotic makings of America's lesser known sweetheart
Location: body in Las Vegas, heart all a...

Total posts: 9831
Posted:true, we don't have the extent of the situation. clearly there must have been something that stood out for the DA to go after the mother. but what that was, we don't know.

if a parent is clearly neglecting their children's needs, then yes i believe they should be punished. that's a very loaded situation though and has a lot of subsets to it.

first off....where's the father? was it a one-parent home? did he leave and abandon the child? those questions should be answered as well.

the school should have been doing something as well. and if it was as bas as it is painted out to be, social services should have been involved at some point for a welfare check, long before this happened. once again, showing the failures of our child welfare system (don't even get me started on that one).

one point that frustrates me is how we set our society up to fail and then punish them for it. where were the supports for this woman? it sounds like she was a single mother, but again that's an assumption. but if she was, this should be an example of how we should be reaching out to our single mothers, our lower class, our sections of the society who are struggling and could use the help of the community at large. every client that comes to see me hears the same speech about what resources are available to them, even if it may not necessarily apply to the moment. so many people don't know what is available to them (and often there isn't a lot) that even when they could reach out for help, they aren't aware of it. we need to work together. "it takes a village to raise a child."


I was always scared with my mother's obsession with the good scissors. It made me wonder if there were evil scissors lurking in the house somewhere.

Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.

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