15 year-old Zachary Kirchner committed suicide in his basement in southeastern York County on April 20, 2021 after sharing with classmates that he wanted to end his life on that day. Now his mother is suing the Red Lion School District and six of her son’s former classmates after she says they failed to stop bullying and sexual harassment that played a role in his death.
Students relentlessly bullied Zachary after he came out as gay in 8th grade and also targeted him because of his disabilities, which included autism and other disabilities and medical conditions, according to the lawsuit filed last week by his mom Hope Amspacher.
“Student defendants relentlessly harassed, belittled and broke down decedent by telling him to ‘kill yourself’” according to the lawsuit, and for Zachary to do a ‘charity’ for them by dying by suicide. The school district did not protect or properly react to complaints of bullying and instead, “further emboldened” the student harassers by punishing Zachary, the lawsuit claims.
Zachary’s brother s was witness to the bullying but school administrators told the brother to “mind his own business,” according to the lawsuit. The district had “actual notice” of the incessant bullying due to his sexual orientation, the lawsuit said, noting that someone had scrawled “Zach K is a (slur,)” on a bathroom stall door. The large letters remained on the door even after Zachary’s death, the lawsuit said.
The students’ conduct continued even after Zachary’s death, according to the lawsuit, with one of the student defendants circulating a yearbook photo of Zachary on social media on the 1-year anniversary of his death. The photo had a piece of rope placed across his neck. The caption said: “Can’t believe 1 year, rope still ain’t break,” with a flexing arm emoji and a smiling face emoji wearing sunglasses.
You can read the entire heartbreaking story HERE