Verdigris Mother Takes School To Court, Says It Ignored Bullying


Monday, August 29th 2011, 6:25 pm
By: News On 6


Lori Fullbright, News On 6

VERDIGRIS, Oklahoma -- A 16-year-old girl says she's been bullied for more 18 months at school. She says her nose was broken by the bully, an injury that required surgery. Her parents have filed a lawsuit against the classmate, her mother and the Verdigris school district.

The girl's family says it started over an argument with a neighbor about their dog on the loose, but it spilled over into the school when the neighbor's daughter started name calling, making threats and ultimately resorting to violence.

Jennifer says she talked to the principal and the school counselor about the situation with her neighbor's daughter and her fear it was getting worse.

"It kept escalating and escalating, the girl kept charging at my daughter, calling her names in the hallway, cussing at her making threats. I knew it was getting close because she said to me, 'I'm going to whup your daughter's a**,'" said Jennifer, the victim's mother.

Jennifer says she went back to the principal in the first of March of this year, telling him she was worried something was going to happen and could they please keep an eye out on her daughter.

She says the principal's response was always the same.

"Teenage drama, this is what goes on with high school students, goes on every day," she said.

She says one week later, the bullying came to a head. She and her husband had told their daughter, who has a physical handicap, migraines and asthma, to protect herself. So Jennifer says when the other girl charged at her daughter, her daughter threw a punch.

She says the other girl knocked her daughter to the ground and repeatedly punched her in the face.

"My daughter is sitting there with half her hair pulled out, blood all over her, a big knot protruding from her nose, bruises and knots all over her head," Jennifer said.

She says her daughter's broken nose required surgery. Both girls were suspended for three days. The officer, who viewed the incident on a school video, believed the other girl was the aggressor.

"There was video. There was not sound, but, the officer's report says he believes the girl was using self defense," said Brendan McHugh, Jennifer's attorney.

McHugh says they tried to work with the school district, but got nowhere, so they filed the lawsuit to hold them accountable for failing to protect the girl and failing to follow its own bullying policy.

The lawyer for the other girl and her mother says they deny all the allegations and look forward to their day in court.

The lawyer for the school district says the lawsuit contains information that's misleading and untrue. He says while they can't reveal confidential student information, they have confidence the legal system will separate fact from fiction and the district will be vindicated when the true story is presented in court.