Family of Australian teen who committed suicide after bullying may receive $1 million


Kelby Johnson attends a panel discussion after a screening of the documentary "Bully" at MPAA on March 15, 2012 in Washington, DC.


Kris Connor

The family of an Australian teenager who took his own life after being beaten and bullied at school, is reportedly to receive close to $1 million from the education department.

Alex Wildman, 14, comitted suicide on July 25, 2008 at his family's home near Lismore after being bullied by other pupils at Kadina High School, according to the Fairfax media.

According to, Wildman — described as a "highly intelligent and sensitive young man" — had been subject to attacks at his previous high school in Sydney in 2007.

The bullying had started again when he moved to Kadina, and two days before he died, he was punched repeatedly on the head in an attack filmed by another student on a mobile phone.

Another fight was planned for the day he died, Fairfax reported.

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A coroner found bullying was a significant factor in his death and made various recommendations, including that the department ensure students at large high schools have access to full-time school counsellors.

His family launched a civil case against the New South Wales Education Department following the coroner's findings.

Australia's Daily Telegraph cited the claim, filed with a court last year, as saying that the department had breached its duty of care, and that Kadina High School "owed Alex a duty to recognise that he was in need of assistance for being physically assaulted." 

"As as a result of the negligence of the [department], they have suffered injury, loss and damage," it continued.

It emerged Friday that — dubbed a "National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence" — that the case had been settled in favor of the family.

Wilman's mother, Justine Kelly, was quoted by the Telegraph as saying Friday that Alex "would have been proud" of the family's continuing fight to eliminate bullying in schools.

"It means that we've been vindicated, it means that justice has been served," she said.

"I think Alex would be proud because it's been a long, hard fight for everyone."

A departmental statement called Wildman's death a tragedy.

"The NSW Department of Education and Communities offers its condolences to Alex's family and friends," it said. "The recommendations from the coronial inquiry into Alex Wildman's death are being implemented by the department.

"The terms of settlement in this matter make further comment inappropriate."

The payout figure will reportedly be held in trust until the youngest of Alex's three siblings turns 18.

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A number of tribute videos have been posted on YouTube: