Mother of fallen student files P100-M lawsuit vs British School Manila

Jee Y. Geronimo
Mother of fallen student files P100-M lawsuit vs British School Manila
'We cannot put a price tag on my son's life. We're fighting for justice and we believe that justice will give us some measure of peace and closure'

MANILA, Philippines – British School Manila (BSM) is facing another complaint from Trixie Madamba, mother of student Liam Madamba, who took his own life in February reportedly over problems at school.

Trixie filed a civil case against the school Friday, December 4, before the Taguig City Regional Trial Court.

“We are suing the institution for P100 million ($2.12 million)…. We’re [also] suing [BSM school head] Simon Mann in his individual capacity for letting Natalie Mann leave the country,” she told Rappler in a phone interview.

3RD COMPLAINT. The damage suit filed before the Taguig Regional Trial Court Friday, December 4, is the 3rd complaint filed by Trixie Madamba against the British School Manila. Photo from Trixie Madamba

Liam, a scholar at BSM, jumped from the 6th floor of the Dela Rosa carpark building in Legazpi Village in Makati City on February 6.

A day before, he and another student met one of their teachers, Natalie Mann (not related to Simon). She asked the students to write a letter of reflection for supposedly plagiarizing a paragraph in a first-draft Theory of Knowledge (TOK) essay.

The TOK is under the school’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program. But the IB itself said their academic honesty regulations – including rules on plagiarism – are applicable only to works submitted to them and not to earlier drafts such as that of Liam’s. 

According to a report from an Independent Review Panel (IRP), the students saw the reflection process as a punishment. (READ: BSM: Connection between student’s death, school reprimand)

A separate report from the Senate committee on education, arts, and culture, which held public hearings on Liam’s death, criticized the school for its “phenomenal support” for Natalie.

The Senate report said the teacher “caused Liam mental anguish or emotional suffering.” Natalie left the country mid-March and has since tendered her resignation.

‘Fighting for justice’

Trixie on Friday said Simon Mann is also “personally liable” for withholding Liam’s apology letter and only giving it to the Madambas two months after the student’s death. Because of this delay, Trixie said “wounds were reopened, as if he died all over again.”

Aside from the damage suit, Trixie also filed a criminal case before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against Simon and members of BSM’s Council of Trustees and Board of Governors for obstruction of justice under Presidential Decree 1829.

The school is also facing a separate administrative complaint filed by Trixie before the Department of Education. The department has already asked BSM to comment on the complaint.

With this latest lawsuit, Trixie said she and the family want justice for Liam. 

By law, justice is served by compensation,” she told Rappler.

“We cannot put a price tag on my son’s life. We’re fighting for justice and we believe that justice will give us some measure of peace and closure.” – Rappler.com

US$1 = P47

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Jee Y. Geronimo

Jee is part of Rappler's Central Desk, handling most of the world, science, and environment stories on the site. She enjoys listening to podcasts and K-pop, watching Asian dramas, and running long distances. She hopes to visit Israel someday to retrace the steps of her Savior.