🏫 Elite NJ boarding school admits failures in student suicide

🏫 School officials say they never checked on a student the evening of his death

🏫 Preventative measures announced as part of a settlement

Officials with a prestigious New Jersey boarding school have made a stunning admission: They could have done more to prevent the death of student.

Jack Reid was 17 when he died by suicide following relentless bullying by classmates at the elite school.

His parents, William and Elizabeth, told the New York Times it all started after Jack was falsely accused of sexual assault.

In a statement announcing a settlement with the Reid family, the school admitted "there were steps that the School should in hindsight have taken but did not."

Jack reid

"Jack was a victim of bullying and other forms of cruel behavior at Lawrenceville over the course of a year, including in the form of false rumors in person and online," the statement reads.

Even though the school investigated the rumors, and found them to be untrue, no public statement was ever issued clearing Jack's name.

School officials now admit that was a mistake.

Nothing that will ever make up for the tragedy of losing this promising and beloved young man. But it is the hope of all of us that Jack's memory is honored. - The Lawrenceville School

As the bullying continued, Jack's torment grew to be too much.

On April 30, 2022, Jack told a friend he couldn't take it anymore.

According to the school, "School administrators did not notify or check on Jack. That night, Jack took his life. The School acknowledges that bullying and unkind behavior, and actions taken or not taken by the School, likely contributed to Jack’s death."

The Lawrenceville School
The Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville (Lawrenceville School website)

Preventing another tragedy

The Lawrence School also announced they were taking several steps to prevent a similar tragedy, including:

⬛ Contracting with a specialist on school bullying to help construct policies and training to identify and effectively address the behaviors that lead to bullying and cyberbullying.
⬛ Lawrenceville will contribute to the Jack Reid Foundation, a foundation established by the Reid family focused on education and prevention of bullying
⬛ Hiring a Dean of Campus Well-being focused on student mental health issues
⬛ Trainings and workshops for staff to raise awareness and promote better understanding of adolescent mental health

The school says they will also make a contribution to the Jack Reid Foundation, established by Jack's family to raise awareness and help prevent bullying.

Entrance to the Lawrenceville School
Entrance to the Lawrenceville School (Google Street View)

Further details of the settlement with the Reid family were not released.

"There is, of course, nothing that will ever make up for the tragedy of losing this promising and beloved young man," school officials said, "But it is the hope of all of us that Jack's memory is honored."

Where to get help

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, help is always available.

NJ Hopeline is New Jersey's 24/7 Peer Support & Suicide Prevention Hotline, at 1-855-654-6735. It can be reached 24/7 by text or email to njhopeline@ubhc.rutgers.edu. Its specialists are available at any time for confidential telephone counseling.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 1-800-273 TALK (8255). The lifeline also offers online chat, as well as specialty help for veterans, young adults and victims of bullying.

Crisis centers are available in several areas of New Jersey. See here for a list and contact information.

ALSO: The National Alliance for Mental Illness HelpLine can connect you with resources in your community for longer-term help. The Helpline is 800-950-NAMI (6264)

Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at eric.scott@townsquaremedia.com

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