Ohio Parents Allege School Bullying Ignored in Suit Over Teen's Suicide

Emilie Olsen, 13, had apparently been suffering from depression.

December 16, 2015, 1:33 PM

— -- The parents of a 13-year-old girl who killed herself have filed a federal lawsuit against the school she attended, claiming officials there did too little to stop their daughter from being bullied.

Emilie Olsen killed herself in her family's home on Dec. 11 of last year. On the one year anniversary of her death, last week, her parents, Marc and Cindy Olsen, of Hamilton, Ohio, filed the lawsuit against the Fairfield City School District.

Their daughter's former teachers, fellow students and school administrators are also named in the lawsuit, which alleges that school officials dismissed the Olsens' many requests for helping stop their daughter from being bullied.

The Olsens, who adopted Emilie as a nine-month-old, claim in the lawsuit that in once instance of bullying, one sixth-grader handed Emilie a razor, telling her to "end her life."

They also describe in the lawsuit derogatory restroom graffiti about the teen that they say was shown to school officials but wasn’t removed until the day after Emilie died. The lawsuit also alleges that Emilie was bullied by students because of her Asian-American race.

The school district told ABC News in a statement, "The district will be defending the litigation and will be providing appropriate responses in the course of the litigation," the statement read.

A school resource officer who reviewed surveillance video from inside Emilie’s school on the day she took her own life reported that he saw nothing out of the ordinary.

In a Facebook post with a friend less than two weeks before her death, Emily wrote, “I’m a freak and I’m tired of it. I’ve made up my mind. I wanna die.”

A police report obtained by ABC News shows that the Olsens told authorities Emilie had been suffering from depression, had a history of cutting her arms and legs and had been suspected by Marc Olsen of regularly drinking alcohol.

The police report outlined the results of the coroner's toxicology report, showing there were no drugs or alcohol in Emilie's system at the time of her death.

ABC News' legal analyst Dan Abrams says the legal battle will focus on what the school district did or did not do to prevent the alleged bullying.

"Maybe most importantly, did the school district know about it and did they, as the plaintiffs allege here, literally put her back into classes with the bullies that they’d reported about. That’s a critical question," Abrams said today on "Good Morning America."

"There’s a clear law in Ohio, an anti-bullying law, which requires school districts to take action," Abrams said. "Now the superintendent actually wrote a letter to the school community saying that he didn’t think bullying had to do with this so there's going to be clear factual disputes."

Abrams said the lawsuit was filed in federal court because the suit alleges the bullying against Emilie was based on her race, national origin and sexual preferences.

"There's going to be an anti-discrimination question here as well," he said.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events