Remembering an Angel:
by Kevin Caruso
In 2002, Daniel Scruggs, 12, an intelligent, talented, and hansome boy, hanged himself in a closet with a necktie.
Judith Scruggs, 53, Daniel's mother, was placed on probation on May 14, 2004, after being convicted
on a risk of injury charge for contributing to Daniel's suicide.
She could have been sentenced for up to 10 years in prison.
Legal experts believe that this is the first time a parent has been convicted of a crime
associated with a child's suicide.
Scruggs was acquitted on a separate risk of injury charge and a cruelty charge.
Judith Scruggs maintained a squalid home in which there was barely room to move around. Filthy items were piled up throughout the house, including in the bathroom, and a horrible stench permeated the home.
Daniel was incessantly bullied at school. He was subjected to constant verbal and physical abuse. He had missed 45 days of school and was late on 29 days during the school year when he died.
Judith Scruggs complained to the school about the bullying but said nothing was done to stop it.
So who contributed to Daniel's suicide? The administrators and teachers at his school? The bullies? Judith Scruggs?
All of the above.
All schools should have a zero-tolerance anti-bullying policy in place. Bullying is a very serious problem, and always requires immediate action.
Please click below for additonal information.
Bullying and Suicide
But regardless of the policies at Daniel's school, the administrators
and the teachers did nothing to protect him. And that is inexcusable.
Also, all schools should have a suicide prevention program so kids like Daniel can reach out for help.
You may obtain a free suicide prevention program on this website.
Please click below for additional information.
Free School Suicide Prevention Program
So the school administrators and teachers definitely contributed to Daniel's suicide.
Bullies are cowards. They are losers who need to derive some type of feeling of power and control because they have low self-esteem. But bullying can cause tremendous mental anguish, as well as physical injury, to victims. Many children become depressed because of bullying, and depression is the number one cause for suicide; so, sadly, many children also die by suicide because of bullying.
The cowardly bullies unquestionably contributed to Daniel's death.
Judith Scruggs lived in the equivalent of a pig sty. The house was beyond filthy and cluttered, it was uninhabitable. Period. I saw pictures of inside the house and it was unbelievably filthy and cluttered.
There could be no excuse for mainting a home as filthy, disgusting, cluttered, and dangerous as the Scrugg's home.
Judith Scruggs did not even do the most basic of household chores. Dirty clothes were everywhere. Garbage was piled up in all of the rooms. Dirty dishes were stacked as high as they could go in the kitchen. Even the bathroom was filled with garbage and dirty clothes.
There was almost no floor space. And the smell in the house was repulsive.
So after being bullied at school, Daniel would go to a place that he could not possibly call "home." It was a garbage dump.
Daniel most probably suffered from severe depression because of the bullying and horrible living conditions that he was forced to endure.
And untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide.
Daniel must have felt trapped and believed there was no one to turn to.
He could not get help at school, and he could not get help at home.
He had no "safe" place that he could go to.
It is extremely disquieting to contemplate what this young boy endured.
We miss you Daniel.