Father plans to sue school system over son’s suicide

Montville — The father of a high school student who committed suicide earlier this year has filed a notice that he intends to sue the town and the school district for negligence in a bullying incident that he alleges led his son to take his own life.

Jose Mendes, the father of Joseph Mendes, alleges his son’s suicide was caused by “negligence and carelessness” of the town, the Board of Education and officials in Montville Public Schools.

The firm of Polito and Quinn LLC, of Waterford, filed notice of the intent to sue with the town clerk’s office last week. The notice alleges that the town did not promptly intervene or promptly notify the parents of all involved in the bullying incident.

Joseph Mendes, 15, a 10th-grade student, died on Jan. 28 of a gunshot wound to the head, the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said. He had recently moved to the school district and posts on the social networking website Facebook attributed his death to bullying.

The school system has maintained that other factors may have played a part in the suicide. Police Lt. Leonard Bunnell Sr. declined comment Tuesday and Resident State Trooper Michael Collins did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Superintendent of Schools Pamela Aubin and Mayor Joseph Jaskiewicz also declined comment. Betty Allard, Joseph Mendes’ grandmother, declined comment. Joseph Mendes was living with Allard and her husband, Paul, at the time of his death.

Humbert J. Polito, Jose Mendes’ attorney, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

jeff.johnson@theday.com


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