Jack Reid: Student at Elite New Jersey School Committed Suicide after Being Falsely Accused of Rape as School Admits Failure in Protecting Him a Year After His Death

The stories were spread outside of the university's boundaries after being made up by other students and told to Jack both directly and anonymously online.

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A prestigious New Jersey school has admitted that a lot "more should have been done" after a student took his own life in his dorm room following more than a year of bullying on rumors and unsubstantiated claims that he was a rapist. Jack Reid, 17, attended The Lawrenceville School, between Trenton and Princeton, where tuition costs a whopping $76,000 a year.

Reid took his own life on April 30, 2022, but in the year before that, he had been the target of a brutal bullying campaign that included false rumors accusing him of being a college rapist. The college has now admitted that it could have taken more steps to prevent Reid from taking the drastic step.

Death Gave Him Peace

Jack Reid
Jack Reid Twitter

The school spoke for the first time exactly a year after Reid committed suicide. "The school acknowledges that bullying and unkind behavior, and actions taken or not taken by the school, likely contributed to Jack's death," Lawrenceville officials wrote in a statement posted on the school's website on Sunday.

The boarding school and Reid's parents, Elizabeth and Bill Reid, reached a settlement a year after his death. The statement was part of that settlement.

"The only thing I'd love to change here is to get Jack back," Reid's father told the New York Times.

Reid enrolled in the boarding school as a sophomore in the fall of 2020. He quickly made friends with other students and, according to his parents, earned a spot on the Dean's List.

The Lawrenceville School
The Lawrenceville School Twitter

However, a rumor that he was a rapist started to spread like wildfire among the student body the following spring semester.

The stories were spread outside of the university's boundaries after being made up by other students and told to Jack both directly and anonymously online.

Jack even received a rape whistle and a book on how to make friends during a 'Secret Santa' gift exchange among his classmates.

Despite the rumor, Reid went back to the university in September 2021 and was chosen to lead the residence hall where he resided.

However, according to his parents, the teenager's new position only made the rumors and bullying worse.

Bill Reid remembered that his son had questioned him whether these unfounded charges would "ever go away."

Murder, Not Suicide

The school said that a student who had previously been expelled for an unrelated issue and who had been found to have been involved in spreading the rumors about Reid was previously penalized for bullying Reid.

Stephen Murray, the head of Lawrenceville School
Stephen Murray, the head of Lawrenceville School Twitter

The unnamed student was, however, left unsupervised as he packed his belongings. Later, when he was with peers, he falsely claimed Reid was to blame for his expulsion.

The same evening, Reid hid a Bible in the pocket of his workout clothes and left his parents a message directing them to a Google Doc that described his hopelessness.

"He had to escape the pain from the humiliation he was feeling," Reid's father said.

Reid's mother claimed that although her son had been seeing a therapist prior to committing suicide, they had never talked about suicidal thoughts.

Despite being informed of the bullying, the school administration has only now made an extraordinary admission of failure on the anniversary of Jack's death.

"There were steps that the School should in hindsight have taken but did not," the school wrote in a lengthy statement.

More damning is the school's failure to publicly or privately acknowledge that it had looked into the rape and discovered that Jack's rumors and the entire story were untrue. Jack and his parents were never informed that he had been cleared of the allegations.

Officials at the school have now acknowledged that they knew about the bullying but did not do enough to protect the student.

Representational Picture Wikimedia Commons

The school, which is among the finest boarding institutions in the country, made the candid, honest, and heartbreaking statement that it feels Jack's death could have been avoided and that " there also were circumstances in which the involvement of an adult would have made a difference."

"As we seek to improve as a community, we have examined our role and take responsibility for what we could have done differently. Lawrenceville's top priority is the physical, social, and emotional health, safety, and wellbeing of our students. We recognize that in Jack's case, we fell tragically short of these expectations," the statement read.

"Jack was universally regarded as an extremely kind and good-hearted young man, with an unwavering sense of social and civic responsibility and a bright future. We continue to mourn this loss," the school wrote in the statement.

The agreement calls for the school, which enrolls 830 pupils, to implement a number of corrective measures, including creating a new dean's role that will focus on mental health concerns in order to become a leader in anti-bullying and student mental health.