The thirteen-year-old Lucas took his life three weeks ago after being bullied for months because of his openly homosexual orientation. Four kids from his school have been arrested for bullying and could face up to ten years in prison due to new legislation.
Lucas wrote in his diary that he did not want to live anymore after being bullied for months because of his openly gay orientation. The French justice system has begun an investigation and is prosecuting four of Lucas’s classmates. The four are two boys and two girls, all thirteen years old.
The four have officially been charged with “bullying that has led to suicide.” In theory, the children could face up to ten years in prison. The children were arrested and interrogated last week and admitted to bullying Lucas multiple times between September 2022 and January 2023.
As a result of a previous suicide case, politicians took action with a bill that would make bullying more severely punished. The law came into effect in March of last year, and since then, students, teachers, and pupils can face up to three years in prison for bullying and up to ten years in prison if the bullying leads to suicide or an attempt at suicide.
In the previous suicide case, it was about the fourteen-year-old Dinah, who took her own life in October because she was bullied at school because she was lesbian.
The case then led to great outrage. A research showed that one in ten French children are bullied. There is also a lot of commotion now. The Minister of Education expressed his disgust and First Lady Brigitte Macron called it a drama.
Fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac made a drawing for Lucas, dedicated to all children who become victims of homophobia.
Press conference Lucas’s mother held a press conference yesterday, which was broadcast live on French TV and a part of which can be seen on NOS.nl. She said, “I couldn’t save him.” In tears, she made an appeal to children who witness bullying. “Talk about it, don’t be afraid. There is always someone who listens, who can help.”
The chance of the children getting ten years in prison is minimal. Catherine Faivre is the family’s lawyer and says, “Because they are minors, any sentence would automatically be halved. And some may not fall under criminal law due to their age, but may receive an educational sentence.”
Lucas’s mother raised the alarm last year, but the family says the school was not taking enough action. The school says it did take action: there was a conversation with the mother and also with the bullying children.
In the press conference, Lucas’s mother shows herself to be forgiving. “They’re just kids. I hope they confess and don’t do it again. But they’re still kids, they didn’t see the harm.”