Lawsuit claims CCSD failed to prevent, respond to disability-based bullying

Lawsuit claims CCSD failed to prevent, respond to disability-based bullying

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A lawsuit filed in Charleston County court last week says the Charleston County School District didn't take proper action when it came to the alleged bullying of an autistic child and Laing Middle School.

It says the child pleaded school officials for assistance when it came to bullying and states the district was obligated to prevent the alleged bullying in accordance with its own policy as well as state and federal law.

The lawsuit lists numerous specific allegations which took place during the 2016-17 school year. The child's parent initially emailed school officials in August 2016 expressing concern about potential bullying, the suit states.

More emails were exchanged between the parent and CCSD employees regarding the alleged bullying, according to the lawsuit. A CCSD official told the parent the district will keep an eye on it and the child should report the bullying himself as well, the lawsuit states.

The most significant piece of the lawsuit arose on May 27, 2017, when an officer from the Mount Pleasant police department met the parent and child to discuss an alleged assault which happened the day prior at recess.

The child told the officer that approximately eight to 10 sixth graders pushed and shoved him into a wall, according to the lawsuit. The child then stated he was counseled by a school administrator, but 'nothing was done' about the alleged assault, the lawsuit said.

The parent sent another lengthy email to CCSD administrators the following day and the school investigated the alleged assault. Everyone involved submitted statements, the lawsuit said.

CCSD approved a school transfer for the child after the mother submitted a transfer application, The lawsuit says the child had pain, suffering, and mental anguish as a result of the alleged bullying. The parent is seeking actual damages that may be determined by a jury.

"At this time, we will not comment on pending litigation," CCSD spokesman Andy Pruitt said.

Pruitt also said the district has not yet received notification of the lawsuit from the plaintiff's attorney.

Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved.