The parents of an East Haven High School student have filed separate federal and state lawsuits that blame school officials for their son’s death last year.

On the morning of June 15, 2001, a security guard found the body of John F. Savinelli, 15, hanging from a fence just outside school property.

Savinelli had been suspended that morning for arguing with a teacher who caught him chewing tobacco.

Police called the teen’s death a suicide, but his parents blame school officials for Savinelli’s death and allegedly keeping information about the investigation from them.

Anna Savinelli and John Savinelli say neither police nor school officials answered their questions about what happened that day.

Anna Savinelli isn’t convinced her son’s death was a suicide because she has never seen police documentation as proof.

She believes her son may have accidentally hanged himself when his clothing became entangled in the fence as he tried to jump over it.

“I believe and know in my heart that my son would’ve been here if they pursued him after he left,” Anna Savinelli said. “I just hold them fully and totally responsible, 100 percent.”

The federal lawsuit names as defendants: Town Attorney Lawrence Sgrignari, Schools Superintendent Martin DeFelice, police spokesman Sgt. Robert Flodquist and the Town of East Haven. Both suits also name the East Haven Board of Education.

–Associated Press