It depends. A New Jersey School district paid $9.1 million to parents of bullied student, Mallory Grossman who died by suicide in 2017. See news report here.

But most states do not allow recovery in cases of death by suicide.  They follow the archaic “suicide rule” that considers death by suicide a voluntary act that breaks the chain of causation.  Such a rule would prevent a family from holding a school district accountable for failing to protect a student. 

The New Jersey settlement and other cases demonstrate a trend to move away from that rule and toward the more progressive California analysis. In 1960 California court established that a wrongdoer may be liable for intentional misconduct resulting in suicide. See, Tate v. Canonica at 901-915.

More recently, in a bullying case, a judge in Riverside refused to let a school district off the hook.  The Judge stated that a jury should decide: (1) whether the school district’s failure to train staff to prevent bullying may have caused the student’s mental condition that led to the uncontrollable suicide attempt; or (2) whether the link between the District’ s failure to train staff to prevent students from leaving school and student’ s mental condition led to student’s act of suicide.  Morrison v. Alvord Unified School Dist. (Cal.Super. No. RIC1705829.)

California case law recognizes that a wrongdoer should be accountable for actions that cause a mental condition that leads to an uncontrollable impulsive act.