Bullies Drive Girl to Anorexia, Says Lawsuit

"The boys would make comments about B.G.'s lunch, and would call her fat while she was trying to eat," the lawsuit claims. "This constant harassment eventually would affect B.G.'s health. B.G. began to throw her lunch away rather than eat in front of the boys and endure their constant teasing and comments about her weight."

Bullies Call 11-Year-Old 'Ugly'

In December 2007, during a field trip to a bowling alley, the same boys replaced her name on the scoring screen with the word "ugly," according to her mother.

When the teacher sent the girl to the school guidance counselor, B.G. was told, "Boys will be boys and they must like her if they were teasing her," her mother later claimed.

Shortly after the field trip, B.G. informed her mother of the teasing, according to the lawsuit. Her mother allegedly went to school officials and learned they knew of the harassment. A school investigation led to a one-day suspension for the boys.

By then, the weight loss was "significant," according to her mother, and B.G. began treatment at an outpatient clinic. Once the bullies learned it was an eating disorder, the teasing began anew, said her mother.

"She couldn't get the boys out of her head," said B.G.'s mother. "They controlled her thoughts with names and words. She drowned it all out with her schoolwork. It was her security blanket. She had 100s in every subject. It was the only way she could escape."

But by February 2008, B.G. already had lost more than 35 pounds and was admitted to the Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic for treatment.

During the month she was hospitalized, the school was "very unsupportive," according to her mother, who said she arranged a tutor herself so B.G. could finish seventh grade at home.

Frick Middle School no longer exists and is now a grade 1-12 International Baccalaureate School. But in 2007, B.G.'s class participated in a program called, "Get Real About Violence," which had been in place for a decade.

"These behaviors start early on and in middle school the program teaches kids acceptable and unacceptable behavior and what to do when they are being bullied," said Janet Yuhasz, health services and student wellness counselor.

All of the principals, staff and teachers are trained in bullying issues, and the school offers an awareness campaign for its parents and students.

"We make everyone understand this is a very real issue and that there should be no fear in reporting it and there are fair and consistent protocols in place," said Fischetti, the schools spokeswoman.

But Edward Olds, an attorney for B.G.'s family, said even if the school had an existing bullying program, "it didn't work in this case."

"The bullying continued to go on," he told ABCNews.com. "Her mother finally got involved after the incident on the field trip at the bowling alley when it finally broke [B.G.]. When her mother tried to deal with it, they were not very responsive."

Bullying Not Likely Cause of Anorexia

According to psychologists who specialize in anorexia but did not treat B.G., bullying many have been a "precipitating event," but would not be the cause of anorexia.

"The process was probably in place a long time beforehand," said Edward Abramson, professor emeritus in psychology at California State University and author of "Emotional Eating."

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