Mother sues district for failing to disclose daughter’s suicide plan

Yuba City, California — A mother is suing a school district in Yuba City, California, after her 12-year-old daughter took her own life. Madison Ocheltree texted a friend about being bullied and that she was contemplating suicide.

In the lawsuit, her mother, Morgan Ocheltree, 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.

“My husband and I weren’t contacted. We didn’t even know that she saw the counselor,” Ocheltree said.

According to the lawsuit, that violates the school district’s policy on suicide prevention, which states, “whenever a staff member suspects or has knowledge of a student’s suicidal intentions, the principal or counselor shall then notify the student’s parents/guardians as soon as possible.”            

Madison Ocheltree Morgan Ocheltree

“I am an involved parent. And my husband is an involved parent and we had no idea,” Ocheltree said.

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. The very next day, Madison turned in her homework assignment and hanged herself.

“She explicitly said that she wanted to commit suicide,” Ocheltree said. “All it takes is a phone call.”

CBS News requested to speak with officials at the Yuba City School District but were told there would be no comment during an active lawsuit.

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