Christian Education

Lawsuit: The school district of Miss. did not stop student bullying

PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. (AP) — A lawsuit alleges that a Mississippi football player with a rare skin condition was bullied and physically assaulted for months after school officials failed to respond.

The 15-year-old boy’s parents sued the school district of Pass Christian, a principal and Jones College in Ellisville, seeking unspecified damages, claiming all three failed to protect their son.

The Herald of the Sun reported that the lawsuit indicates that the student has Darier’s disease, which can cause wart-like blemishes on contaminated or irritated skin. Parents say soccer teammates would rub muscle pain ointment or bleach on their son’s socks, or drag his clothes in the dirt, mostly during soccer practices or before league games. 2020-21 school year.

The assaults escalated when the team attended a football camp in June 2021 at Jones College, a community college in Ellisville, according to the lawsuit. There he claimed the players took off the boy’s clothes, poured hot liquids on the boy’s face or shoved a canned sausage down his throat, and that the players showed videos of the assaults on social media .

Pass Christian School Superintendent Carla J. Evers said in a statement Monday that one incident involving student-athletes was reported after the June 2021 camp.

“The high school principal and athletic coordinator immediately conducted a thorough investigation which was presented in school and district level disciplinary hearings,” Evers said. “The school and the district followed their code of conduct and disciplined the students involved.”

Evers said the school district “believes that all students should be accepted, valued, and safe” and that “no child should be subjected to the reported treatment.” She is also aware of the trial and “looks forward to the opportunity to share all the facts in court.”

“This case has shed light on the importance of talking to your kids about making good decisions and reporting when they see something that doesn’t meet our expectations,” Evers said.

The lawsuit identifies a Pass Christian High School vice-principal, Jedediah “Jed” Mooney, as someone who allegedly knew about the abuse and who “encouraged” or “turned a blind eye” to it and even sometimes ” minimised” the victim himself. Mooney was not listed as a vice principal on the school’s website Monday, and it was not immediately clear whether he was being represented by an attorney. Evers’ statement did not answer questions from The Associated Press about Mooney’s employment status.

Jones College President Jesse Smith said one of the boy’s parents reported attacks on their son while the team was attending a football camp at Ellisville Community College in June 2021. He said that the matter had been reported to the Jones County District Attorney and Jones County Youth Court. . It is unclear whether any of the alleged attackers faced charges in youth court. Wayne Bates, a special prosecutor named in the case, declined to comment on privacy laws in youth court. No one has been charged as an adult.

The victim’s parents say they ‘were forced to take him out of school’ because their son had become ‘extremely scared to go to school and terrified that he might be subjected to new abuses”. Although the names of the parents appear in court records, AP does not identify them because it could identify their son.

The lawsuit accuses the school district of failing to follow its policies to protect students from bullying, harassment or assault, despite the boy and his parents reporting the alleged attacks to school officials. The suit indicates that Jones College provided little supervision in the dorms during camp.

The lawsuit says the victim recovered part of a video. The other boys allegedly joked about the football camp via email or threatened to beat up anyone who reported them, he said.

WLOX-TV reported Family attorneys sent a notice to the Pass Christian School District in June 2021, including one of the videos. The letter of claim offered to settle the case for $500,000 if the school district adopted a zero-tolerance policy against bullying and required all students and staff to participate in mandatory training.