Skip to Content

Family sues Bend-La Pine Schools, county, students over student’s suicide

Claims Summit High School officials were aware of bullying, failed to act

(Update: adding comments from family's lawyer, video)

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The father of a black Summit High School student who killed himself in December 2017 has filed a $400,000 wrongful death lawsuit against Bend-La Pine Schools, Deschutes County and 10 unnamed students who it claims bullied, harassed and threatened him for months, including shortly before his death.

The lawsuit, filed Friday on behalf of Donovan Adderley, also claims negligence and infliction of emotional distress. It said Deshaun Adderley, 14, was bullied and racially harassed, and officials were aware and failed to take adequate steps to investigate, while a county crisis team member failed to do an adequate review of his risk of suicide.

"It really isn't about money," Bryan Donahue, managing attorney at Donahue Law Firm and the family's lawyer, said Tuesday. "In this situation, the No. 1 hope of the family is really to bring these types of situations to light, and improve the situation for students of Bend-La Pine Schools, so the environment is one in which they can be free of intimidation."

The lawsuit says a video of Adderley in a fight in a school bathroom was posted on social media that day. It claims Adderley and another student reported the incident to at least one school official, but that no school employee or administrator investigated the incident as an act of bullying, nor were Adderley’s parents contacted.

The lawsuit also claims the teen was threatened by at least one student, “told he would be put on his knees and made to beg for his life.” It says Adderley later posted several messages to social media about the threats “and indicating that (he) wanted to die.”

Bend police were made aware and went to his home, and an officer contacted the county’s Mobile Crisis Assessment Team, which sent a team member to the home but, the lawsuit alleges, “did not perform a complete and thorough suicide risk assessment,” only recommending that the teen talk with a therapist the next day.

The lawsuit claims Adderley, after shaving and dying his hair that fall, “was the target of peer-on-peer bullying, harassment and cyber-harassment that was widely disseminated throughout Summit.” It says the teen spoke to school officials about the troubles he faced, on several occasions. 

Due to the other students’ conduct, the teen “suffered fright, horror, grief, shame, humiliation, embarrassment, anger, disappointment, worry and nausea,” as well as “severe emotional distress,” the lawsuit claims.

Donahue said, "Any time a situation like this happens, it is truly a tragedy. The hope, of course, is that it never happens again, and sometimes lawsuits are necessary to change policies, to protect students and to protect the public."

A lawyer for Deschutes County told The Associated Press they are reviewing the allegations and plan to defend all claims asserted against the county.  A Bend-La Pine Schools spokeswoman said they had yet to be served with notice of the lawsuit.

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts
Summit High School

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo

Barney Lerten

Barney is the digital content director for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Barney here.

Author Profile Photo

Max Goldwasser

Max Goldwasser is a reporter and producer for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Max here.


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content