Named in the suit is the Fairfield City School District as well as the district's board of education, various administrators and teachers, and multiple students. Though the school district had said it dealt with any bullying issues, the family's suit says the district did little to control an abusive school environment that began as early as Olsen’s 6th-grade year. The suit alleges that the bullying continued and led the 13-year old Chinese-American adoptee to shoot herself on Dec.11, 2014.
“After months of gathering and reviewing hundreds of documents, conducting numerous interviews, and reviewing applicable law, it is our conclusion that Emilie’s suicide is a direct result of the sustained bullying, discrimination, and harassment that she suffered at Fairfield City Public Schools,” Michael Chapman, attorney for the Olsen family, said in an email to NBC News.
"Emilie and her parents tried to end the bullying and repeatedly pleaded with certain Defendants for help," the family's complaint reads. "Consequently, Emilie suffered severe anguish, distress, and depression and ultimately committed suicide."
The suit says the bullying and the inaction of the school district resulted in a violation of Olsen’s constitutional and civil rights. It asks for reforms in policy and procedures at the school district and for yet-to-be-determined damages.
The school district has said it will challenge the suit, according to media comments made by Fairfield Schools spokeswoman Gina Gentry-Fletcher on Monday.
Emilie, born in China and adopted when she was nine months old, lived with her parents Marc and Cynthia Olsen and a younger sister. Her parents claim that their daughter told them how scared she was to go to school. The suit said that one of the students named in the suit followed her into a bathroom with a razor and told her to “end her life.”
The bullying was so bad, according to the suit, that Olsen told her parents she wanted to conceal her Chinese ethnicity. She even asked her father, “Why can’t I be white like you and mom?”
The suit also states that Emilie’s cellphone and social media accounts continued to include references to bullying, depression, and suicide throughout the school year.
One teacher told Marc Olsen that his daughter rarely smiled in school and responded only in one word answers, according to the complaint. The teacher offered to have the school counselor speak to Emilie, but the suit alleges that "Defendants did not arrange for Emilie to speak with a counselor, and Defendants failed to take any further action to address the situation.”