The parents of a student with special needs who hanged himself are suing the school district in U.S. federal court claiming the system failed to protect him when he was constantly being bullied by other students, including being called "gay."

Ga. student suicide blamed on bullying

Tyler Lee Long, 17, hanged himself last October. His parents, David and Tina Long, are suing the Murray County School District in Chatsworth, Ga., and are seeking punitive damages, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“He hated school,” his mother told the AJC in a story posted to its website Friday. “They would spit in his food, call him ‘gay,’ smack him and say, ‘I can’t wait until you are six feet under!’  A lot of [the] time he would go to the counselor’s office and call me. We complained, but nothing much was done. If we had the financial means, we would have put him somewhere else.”

News of this lawsuit comes on the heels of the Ga. State House tabling an anti-bullying bill sponsored by state Rep. Mike Jacobs (R-Atlanta). 

During debate on the bill, Jacobs said he was motivated to pursue the legislation by the death of DeKalb County student last year. In April, 11-year-old Jaheem Herrera killed himself by hanging himself in his closet. His mother said she believed he did so because he was constantly bullied at school, including being called “gay.”

The DeKalb County School System released a written report about Herrera’s death last August, denying any bullying took place at the school.

The 300-plus page report, by retired Fulton County Superior Court Judge Thelma Moore, said the school was not at fault and that when student’s called Herrera “gay” they meant “happy.”