SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Federal education officials are investigating the California school district of a 13-year-old boy who committed suicide after allegedly being harassed by classmates because he was gay.

Seth Walsh hanged himself from a backyard tree on Sept. 19 and died nine days later. He attended Jacobsen Middle School in Tehachapi, but had been given permission to be homeschooled because of the ongoing ridicule.

A spokesman for Education Secretary Arne Duncan confirmed the probe Tuesday. Investigators from the department’s civil rights division are trying to determine if Tehachapi Unified School District employees failed to address the years of bullying that preceded Seth’s death.

Superintendent Richard Swanson was not available to comment since the district is closed for the holiday break.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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