From Star Local News:
A woman from The Colony who worked for more than two years to raise awareness of in-school bullying died Saturday.
Deborah Lance, 36, was known for raising awareness about bullying after her 9-year-old son committed suicide at Stewart’s Creek Elementary. Late Saturday or early Sunday, she experienced the brain aneurysm that caused her death, said Martin Cirkiel, the family’s attorney. CBS 11 News reported she was admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian hospital in Plano the night of her death, and that she had eperienced complications related to Marfan syndrome, a disease that affects connective tissue, for several years. She is survived by her husband, Jason Lance, and son, Dooley Lance.
The death of the couple’s son, Montana, made national headlines in January 2010. The boy was found unconscious by school staff members in the school’s nurse’s bathroom Jan. 19 and was later pronounced dead at Baylor Hospital of Carrollton. The medical examiner’s report, released later that month, said Montana had committed suicide by hanging himself in the nurse’s bathroom.
Jason and Deborah filed against Lewisville ISD a year after Montana’s death that claimed that repeated bullying, which school officials did little to prevent, led to the boy’s suicide. LISD and The Colony police have maintained bullying was not a factor in the suicide.
Cirkiel said he doubts Deborah’s death will delay the family’s suit, which is set to go to trial next month
“She loved her children; she loved her family,” Cirkiel said of Deborah. “She missed her son, Montana, quite deeply. Of course, she was committed to the well being of her other child and her husband, and she was committed to making the schoolhouse safer for other children.”
Deborah dedicated much of her time after her son’s death to raising awareness of school bullying and worked to bring about changes to policy that would protect children from such harassment, work that included a 2011 trip to Austin to address the state Senate Education Committee in support of an anti-bullying bill.
Christine Jackson, a co-founder of Families Against Bullying, whom Deborah had befriended in the months after her son’s death, said she was “shocked” at the news of the death since she did not recall Deborah ever mentioning any health problems.
When asked what she will remember most about the woman, Jackson said “her diligence.”
“I’ve never lost a child, and it’s really hard for me to understand what that must feel like because I am a mother,” Jackson said. “Debbie, regardless of the pain and the sorrow, just continued on. She had this great loss, and she continued not for her own son but for other people’s kids, and it was just amazing to me. … Where she got the strength, I don’t know.”
Jackson said Deborah will be remembered for inspiring parents to pay closer attention to what’s going on in their children’s social lives and listening to what they have to say about school issues after coming home.
“Debbie’s focus was never on herself; [it was] working hard on making sure what happened with Montana never happened again in the future, and she definitely left the world a better place,” Jackson said.