My hope is that you wont be sure if I am serious or not by using that title. I am serious. Believe me when I tell you that this case and the young man involved are going to be a pivotal turn in the abolition of bullying and peer victimization. It doesnt matter in the least that the district, "[makes] no admission by the Board or by any of its employees of a violation of any law or duty owed to the Plaintiffs..." Or that they will never get a dime from the actual bully. The repercussions are going to sound all over the country.
This case will be the precedent for future civil and criminal cases against school districts and the families of bullies. Provided you are willing to take a beating to document the victimization you are suffering at the hands of a brazen bully and an apathetic school (and district).
Sawyer had written emails [good thinking Sawyer] advising the school and administration that the harassment was continuing and in one email told the administrator that it was getting worse and asked the person for coping strategies for dealing with the bully (pretty good terminology if it wasnt his parents). Unfortunately, no one did anything of substance and, despite what the "district spokesperson" says, I seriously doubt any policy was enforced because Sawyer and his family have shown that NOTHING CHANGED!
So one day, the bully punches Sawyer in the stomach - it resulted in a blood clot that moved to his spine - and burst. He is now paralyzed and wheelchair bound. 4.2 million dollars isnt enough if it is my child - but he isnt so they settled. In court, while it would have cost more and you are taking a chance - i think a jury punishes the district very hard. I am guessing the insurance underwriters for the district have a cap and they knew they werent getting anything from the bully's family, so they settled. But they arent ready to settle the advocacy.
Here is a statement from the defendant:"The board denied allegations that it or its employees had “failed or compromised its responsibility to develop and to implement effective policies and procedures to protect the safety and rights” of the school community, the statement continued, noting that the district "prides itself for the role which it has played in recognizing and developing an awareness of the dangers of bullying, intimidation and harassment in the school setting."
This is not a case of the district not having a plan in place or a policy forbidding bullying. This is about the enforcement and USE of the policy(ies). This is the situation for a multitude of school districts. A recent survey of principals around the country showed that they report not having the resources, time or training to implement anti bullying policies and practices. This is the sad state when an issue that has been prevalent since people got together in groups is suddenly thrust into the spotlight and catches everyone who has turned their head from the issue are forced to pay attention and FINALLY be held accountable.
So, good on ya Sawyer - make them pay and maybe they will listen. Though I doubt it! You will be a news broadcaster and youll be able to hold your head up while the bully may grow up to be successful but has to live with the fact that he inspired you to be even more outspoken - though the cost was dire, the benefit is to society and thats even better than being a millionaire.
My passion in life is raising awareness of the factors contributing to the toxic environment in which children live.