Year: 2005 Source: Connecticut Public Interest Law Journal, v.5, no.1, (2005), p.131-165 SIEC No: 20080021

On January 2, 2002, the community of Meriden, Connecticut was shocked to discover that Joseph Daniel Scruggs (Daniel), a twelve-year-old boy, had committed suicide.1 The communityÕs shock grew as the press began to discover and report the details of DanielÕs life. Although there was an abundance of evidence suggesting that Daniel was a troubled boy, the system designed to protect such children failed to help him.2 Daniel was tormented at school, yet teachers and other school officials often did nothing to protect him or stop the tormentors.3 His mother, Judith Scruggs, had lost control of him. She was unable to make him attend school or bathe and had given up attempting to do so.4 DanielÕs poor hygiene and poor school attendance caused the school to make referrals to the State of Connecticut Department of Children and Families.5 A truancy officer from the Connecticut Superior Court for Juvenile Matters and a social worker from the Connecticut Department of Children and Families were assigned to Daniel.6 But neither of the state officials was helpful to Daniel, and they took little action.