Family files suit against Fairport School District
Posted at: 08/07/2012 10:47 PM
| Updated at: 08/08/2012 6:55 PM
By: Ray Levato | WHEC.com
We’ve often hear about bullying and efforts to combat it, and lately, it’s mostly about cyber bullying on electronic devices like Facebook. That’s not what parents say happened in Fairport. They claim their son was abused face-to-face and it caused severe emotional damage.
The lawsuit claims the boy was the target of unrelenting peer-on-peer bullying that included repeated physical assaults that ranged from being groped to being jabbed with lacrosse sticks. And at times, the boy was so anxiety stricken and so emotionally incapacitated, he could not attend school. In fact, the parents claim they got their son switched to a different school where the bullying continued.
The lawsuit doesn’t name the parents or their son. It only refers to them with their initials, which News10NBC is not using. The defendant s includes the school district, the superintendent and five others including school principals, a counselor and a gym teacher.
The parents claim the boy was happy, outgoing and motivated in fifth grade and had no school phobia and no social difficulty. They claim the bullying started in sixth grade at Martha Brown. One example noted was an attack in a hallway in 2011.
The lawsuit states as the boy attempted to stow his violin in his orchestra locker, two lacrosse players approached him and one jammed a lacrosse stick into his buttocks. The lawsuit goes on to say as when the boy swatted the stick away, the student shoved the lacrosse stick into buttocks even further.
The lawsuit claims the bullying continued unabated even after the boy was transferred to Johanna Perrin Middle School. Repeated episodes included physical attacks and taunting him with sexually explicit language. In one case, the suit contends, a gym teacher on numerous occasions should have intervened but remained indifferent.
Fairport Superintendent Jon Hunter said, “Our teachers are committed to high standards. Our principals are ethical and directed toward action and safety. And our kids, our kids want the best for their friends and for each other. Bullying and harassment just doesn’t survive in the Fairport Central School District.”
The lawsuit lists three causes of action: negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligent failure to hire, supervise and train teachers and administrators and violations of civil rights. News10NBC asked Superintendent Hunter if he was saying the allegations are not accurate.
Hunter said, “They’re just not parallel to how we are committed to kids. They are not parallel to what is important in our schools. They are not parallel to what we believe is part of a Fairport education.”
The lawsuit contends that one boy was reprimanded by the school principal, but that they just set the stage for further confrontations. The superintendent would say only that the boys involved were disciplined.