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October 18, 2013 at 4:28 PM
The Associated Press
BAINBRIDGE ISLAND — A Kitsap Superior Court judge has ordered the Bainbridge Island School District to pay $300,000 in damages for failing to protect a disabled child from bullying and sexual harassment.
Retired Judge Terrence Carroll ruled on Thursday the district was negligent in protecting a then 14-year-old student at Bainbridge High School. The lawsuit was brought by his parents, Jan and Jay Webster, in 2010.
Court documents show the boy was harassed repeatedly until his parents obtained a restraining order and contacted Bainbridge Island Police, who launched an investigation. Four male high school students were found guilty of criminal conduct related to bullying.
Court documents say the boy, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, required years of therapy and anti-anxiety medication.
A lawyer for the family, Tom Vertetis, called the decision an important verdict for families with disabled children in public schools.
Requests for comment from the school district were not immediately returned on Friday afternoon.
September 7, 2012 at 8:44 AM
Parents of a Gig Harbor middle school student whose bullying was captured on video last year asked the Peninsula School Board last night to take the matter more seriously, according to The News Tribune.
Randy and Karla Kinney told board members that teacher John Rosi’s discipline — reassignment and 10 days suspension without pay at the time — wasn’t severe enough, the newspaper reported. Video that came to light last week showed students carrying their son around by his arms and legs, trapping him beneath overturned chairs and more. At times, Rosi joined in. The videos showed that the behavior continued for at least 15 minutes.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department is now investigating, and Rosi has been placed on leave.
January 26, 2012 at 11:12 AM
The Aberdeen School District has agreed to pay $100,000 to a former student who said he endured severe and persistent harassment throughout junior high and high school and that school officials were made aware of it but did nothing to end it.
The district reached the settlement with Russell Dickerson III, now 20, who is African American. The ACLU, which represented Dickerson, will receive $35,000 in legal fees.
In the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Tacoma in December 2010, Dickerson said that from 2003 when he entered junior high until 2009 when he graduated high school, other students harassed him on the basis of his race, sex and perceived sexual orientation.
At Miller Junior High, Dickerson said he was called names by other students and found notes in his backpack and taped to his back calling him derogatory names. At Aberdeen High School, the harassment escalated.
He said students tripped him in the hallways and threw food at him in the cafeteria. In one incident, three students pushed him to the floor in the hallway and smashed a raw egg on his head; only one of the students was disciplined.
The lawsuit claimed that the deliberate indifference to ongoing harassment by the school district, which receives federal funds, violated federal civil rights and education laws. It claimed the district’s negligent inaction also violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws.
About The Today File
The Today File is a general news blog featuring real-time coverage of Seattle and the Northwest. It is reported by the news staff of The Seattle Times and edited by Assistant Metro Editor Nick Provenza.
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