Friday, March 11, 2011

Parents sue Oklahoma City Public Schools for bullying and abuse



"The parents of a thirteen-year-old student at John Marshall High School are suing the Oklahoma City Public Schools and school administrators for failing to protect their daughter from bullying, harassment, and abuse," according to a press release from Absolute Legal Services.

In a lawsuit filed Friday in the District Court of Oklahoma County, Carrie and Henry Holeman claim damages for prior acts of bullying and harassment upon their daughter. The Holemans allege school administrators failed to appropriately address the bullying of their daughter for two school years, which led to the October 18, 2010 attack on their daughter while she rode home on an Oklahoma City Public Schools bus.

In that incident, several other students pushed the Holemans' daughter to the ground and began violently attacking her. Henry Holeman tried rushing onto the school bus in order to rescue his daughter, but the bus driver immediately thwarted his attempts by removing him from the school bus. The Holemans' daughter continued to receive punches and kicks, until being removed from the bus by her mother, Carrie Holeman. "I was just doing what any parent would do if they were in my situation and saw their daughter being attacked," says Carrie Holeman. "We want this to be an example and a statement for other victims."

The lawsuit alleges that the bus driver physically assaulted Henry Holeman and his daughter, and actively prevented her from leaving the school bus safely. The Holemans also allege that their daughter suffered physical and emotional damages because of bullying and the October 18th attack. The lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $75,000.00.

When discussing the lawsuit, the Holeman’s attorney, Jeffrey Taylor, stated, "We know the end result of these kinds of hateful attacks. We have a history of bullying cases that end badly. We believe that this lawsuit will act as a reminder to every school district that they need to take a more active approach in addressing these kinds of sensitive issues. Our schools need to do more to protect our kids' safety, especially when they are on notice of the bullying and harassment."

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