Laramie County Principal Denies Wrongdoing In Fifth Grader’s Suicide At School

The principal of an elementary school in Carpenter, Wyoming, denies wrongdoing in a response to a lawsuit brought by parents of a suicidal fifth grader who hanged himself unattended in a school bathroom.

Ellen Fike

April 02, 20245 min read

Carpenter Elementary School
Carpenter Elementary School (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

The principal of a Laramie County elementary school where a boy died by suicide last year has denied any wrongdoing in the fifth grader’s death, according to recent court filings.

Tyler Muniz, principal of Carpenter Elementary School in Carpenter, filed a 29-page response March 27 to a civil lawsuit filed by the boy’s parents, Paul and Chandel Pine. Throughout the response filed by his attorneys, Muniz either denies wrongdoing or denies knowledge about incidents that led to the boy’s death.

Paul Kenneth Pine was 11 years old when he hanged himself in a bathroom at the school in January 2023. The boy had been suicidal for months and the school had a preventative plan in place to monitor him, which included how to handle his trips to the restroom.

Muniz does admit knowledge of the student’s desire to die by suicide and that the boy had numerous mental health struggles, but came to the support of his fellow defendants, saying they all acted in good faith. The parents also are suing Laramie County School District No. 2, Superintendent Justin Pierantoni and music teacher Amelia Giordano in their complaint, filed in November.

“The defendant admits he knew that Paul had mentioned a plan to commit suicide in the school bathroom and that he had been diagnosed with ADHD,” the response reads.

At the end of his response, Muniz asks that the court dismiss the Pines’ final complaint and that he be awarded attorneys’ fees, costs and expenses.

Claims Dismissed

In late February, Judge Scott Skavdahl dismissed four of the five claims against Muniz, leaving only the Pines’ claim that Paul’s 14th Amendment rights were violated when he was not protected from harm despite assuming control of his actions.

The Pines also allege that the school district violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by not properly heeding the preventative plan in place for young Paul. The boy brought a knife to school in fall 2022 and told the school counselor he brought it to hurt himself.

Pine finally hanged himself in a school bathroom in 2023 after expressing numerous times to school staff that he was depressed and suicidal.

In January, a criminal child endangerment case against Giordano was dismissed by Laramie County prosecutors.

In their lawsuit, the parents claim the school was involved for months in dealing with the boy’s depression and continued expressions he wanted to kill himself. The boy reportedly told Muniz and others how he intended to do it.

On one occasion, the boy was sent to Muniz’s office, where the principal and school counselor performed a suicide risk assessment, according to the lawsuit. They reported the boy was despondent, withdrawn, tearful and sad, and asked if he was thinking about killing himself.

“Yeah, every time I hurt someone and when I get bullied,” Paul reportedly responded.

They asked if he had a plan to do it.

He planned on “sneaking a knife into my backpack and going to the bathroom and killing myself,” the boy allegedly told the principal and counselor, adding that he’d brought a plastic knife from home and put it in his lunchbox.

The Plan

The complaint alleges that later that same day, Muniz sent an email to all school staff about Paul’s safety plan.

The email, as rendered in the complaint, says that Paul’s entire class would have fewer bathroom visits during classroom time. Paul’s teacher had designated a “hallway partner” for Paul in case of a bathroom emergency.

“If you see Paul in the hallway unsupervised you need to escort him back to his class and let (his teacher) or myself … know IMMEDIATELY,” says the email. Anyone needing help with Paul should radio for help.

“DO NOT USE THE STUDENT’S NAME OVER THE WALKIE only call for assistance and request it immediately,” said the email, according to the complaint.

On another occasion after the email to school staff, a teacher saw Paul in the hallway and asked if he was OK.

“No, I want to kill myself,” said the boy, allegedly.

The teacher asked what she could do to help Paul.

“Here take this from me,” said the boy, pulling a knife from his backpack.

Sent to the principal and school counselor once again, the boy allegedly said, “I want to cut my throat with it.”

A couple months later on Jan. 9, 2023, Paul was in Giordano’s band class at 10:42 a.m. when he was allowed to go to the bathroom alone, the complaint alleges.

The music class ended and students tricked out of the band room, then Giordano also came out and watched students walk down the hallway, according to the video, the lawsuit claims. It wasn’t until 10:58 a.m. when Muniz walked down the hallway that he, the music teacher and Paul’s fifth grade teacher checked the bathroom.

Giordano “appears to see Paul’s limp body, and then runs down the hallway to call 911,” the complaint relates from the video.

Young Paul was flown to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, then later to Children’s Hospital in Denver. He finally died Jan. 12, 2023, having never regained consciousness.

Ellen Fike can be reached at

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Ellen Fike