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Teacher Charged After Her 11-Year-Old Student Commits Suicide


A Wyoming teacher has been charged after an 11-year-old student committed suicide on her watch.

Amelia Giordano, a music teacher at Carpenter Elementary, was hit with a child endangerment charge last month in the death of fifth-grader Paul Pine.

She pleaded not guilty on Thursday, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported. If convicted, Giordano faces up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

According to another report from the Tribune Eagle, Pine struggled in school due to reading difficulties, a challenge that often left him singled out.

Amid the stress of his schooling, Pine’s mother, Chandel, found out in October of last year that he had a plan to end his own life. The plan reportedly involved the school bathroom.

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A disturbing revelation for any parent, Chandel got her son help at a hospital and with mental health professionals.

She also worked with school administrators to formulate a plan to protect Pine. As part of the plan, teachers were not to allow fifth-grade students to go to the bathroom alone.

In December, things took a drastic turn when a concerned teacher discovered that Pine had brought a knife to school and had been having “scary thoughts.”

Should Giordano be held liable for Pine’s death?

The school moved to expel Pine over the incident. After an impassioned intervention by Chandel, the district’s board of trustees allowed him back on a probationary basis.

Shortly after his return to school, Pine’s family would have their lives turned upside down.

While in Giordano’s music class, Pine was allowed to go to the bathroom unaccompanied. Video footage shows that 17 minutes went by before anyone went to check on him.

In that time, Pine hanged himself in the bathroom.

The video reportedly shows Giordano and another teacher approaching the bathroom and peeking in but refusing to take any further action.

Eventually, the school principal went in and found Pine. He began CPR on the child until a helicopter arrived and Pine was taken to a hospital.

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Despite medical intervention, Pine died on Jan. 12.

“He was sunny; his imagination was boundless,” Chandel told the Tribune Eagle. “I heard many people say, ‘To know him was to love him.’ He was athletic; he played any sport he could. I mean, he just lit up a room.”

The Pine family plans to file a civil suit against the school district, which was expected to abide by the protection plan already in place.

This tragedy highlights a larger problem: The public school system, which we entrust with our children’s safety and education, sometimes fails to protect them from harm.

In some school districts, violence against children has been recorded happening in the open. In other places, the truth about heinous abuse only surfaces years later.

Some of these crimes are so treacherous that the perpetrators face hundreds of years in prison.

As seen in the tragic case of Paul Pine, even with the strictest safeguards in place, a teacher’s momentary lapse can have life-altering consequences.



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