Three defendants have been dropped from the amended lawsuit over the suicide of Nigel Shelby, who committed suicide due to bullying because of his sexuality in 2019.
The newly amended lawsuit dropped three of the nine claims, leaving six, and there is no longer a monetary amount specified in damages of the supposed negligence that the school showed.
The remaining defendants of the amended lawsuit are of the board of education and Jo Stafford who is no longer an employee of Hunstville City Schools. The school Superintendent Christine Finley and administrators Aaron King and David Whitener have been removed from the amended lawsuit. Stafford had been administrator of the Freshman Academy at Huntsville High School when Shelby attended the school.
The newly amended lawsuit still maintains the original accusation that school officials did nothing to help Shelby despite problems he was facing being brought to their attention on multiple occasions.
Stafford was specifically quoted by an unnamed student in the original lawsuit, showing negligence, even stating once that she “didn’t care” that Nigel was “going through one of his episodes.”
There was another incident in which Stafford told Shelby that “being gay was a choice and that he would have to accept the consequences of that choice-which included having to deal with ‘adult comments’ telling Nigel that he didn’t deserve to live in response to Nigel’s ‘adult’ social media posts about being gay“ the lawsuit stated in describing the meeting. This meeting occurred a week before Shelby would go on to take his own life.
This meeting in particular is cited to support the evidence that school officials violated Title VI, which prohibits the intentional discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin, and Title IX, which prohibits public schools from ignoring harassment based on gender stereotyping.
Huntsville mayor Tommy Battle, and Lauren Woltjen had previously been dismissed as defendants on the case before the current three defendants were dropped. Attorneys of all the defendants, former and present, filed a motion to dismiss the complaint in May, stating that the individual defendants should be dropped as defendants under the immunity protetions. Herman Johnson, U.S Magistrate, declared the motion to dismiss as oot since the plaintiffs were already re-filling the lawsuit
Certain indicators of proof have been removed from the lawsuit, such as the original lawsuit having a reference to an administrator, Jo Stafford’s, suggestion that a suicide note could be found in Shelby’s backpack, which would suggest knowledge of the student’s state of mind.
Shelby's parents, Camika Shelby and Patrick Cruz, were "shocked and devestted" by their sons suicide, the lawsuit stating that the school administration keeping them unaware of how badly Nigel was being treated at school. They were not made aware of the environment until the school system's investigation.
At the time (Camika) Shelby told NBC news "I didn't think he was going through that much. I knew he was depressed, we were going to see doctors...I'm still shocked."
Since her sons death, Shelby has began "mothering" young LGBTQ teens, using Nigel's instagram account and even creating a facebook group for those who are in "unwelcoming households, as she told Al.com.