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Parent of Bullying Victim Files Federal Lawsuit Against Franklin Schools

Partner Tom Blessing Represents Family

Massillamany Jeter & Carson LLP

Tom[1]After years of asking the school system to do something to protect her 15-year old daughter with autism from bullying, a Franklin mother has filed a lawsuit against the school corporation in federal district court. Other students had repeatedly made cruel verbal comments and threats to her daughter and physically assaulted her more than once, resulting in chronic anxiety and depression which led to two attempts to commit suicide.

The lawsuit alleges that the girl was targeted for harassment because she has autism and that this created a hostile environment at school. Even though she and her parents had made numerous complaints to school personnel, they were ignored. According to special education attorney and MJC partner Tom Blessing, the school did not follow its own written anti-bullying policy and failed to properly train its staff on how to handle bullying complaints: “An anti-bullying policy looks nice on the school’s website, but unless school employees are trained on how to implement it and actually take steps to address the problem, it’s worthless.”

The lawsuit alleges that when the parents reported the problem to school administrators, they were told that what their daughter was experiencing didn’t meet the legal definition of bullying. “Imagine being a parent and hearing that. What are you supposed to tell your child?”

Blessing said that children with special needs are targeted for bullying because they are perceived as “different” and often unable to defend themselves. “Unfortunately, schools just don’t take it seriously. They dismiss it as ‘kids will be kids’ and assure parents that they’re ‘taking steps to address the problem,’ but in reality, they don’t. It takes a suicide or ‘bullycide’ for them to pay attention.” Click here to read a copy of the lawsuit.

If your child is being bullied at school, contact Tom Blessing for a free consultation.

R.N. Federal Complaint

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