Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tukwila School District sued; did not protect autistic boy from bullies

My god.

I guess a few school districts will need to be sued for administrators to take protecting kids from bullies seriously.

From the Seattle Times,

"A discrimination suit has been filed on behalf of an autistic former student in the Tukwila School District, alleging district officials failed to protect him from bullying and tried to declare him a truant when his parents pulled him from classes.

The suit, filed Monday in King County Superior Court, contends the man was the victim of almost daily harassment when he was in the sixth and seventh grades by several boys at Showalter Middle School and now suffers from Anxiety Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The boys beat up J.B.M., shoved and pushed him, stole his books, slapped, punched and kicked him, hit him on the head with books, called him disparaging names, spit on him and poured liquids on him, the 17-page complaint alleges.

School officials told J.B.M. to stick up for himself and no action was taken against "the bullies," according to the suit.

Officials then took a recess away from J.B.M. when he yelled at other students and used "inappropriate language," the suit alleges.

They also ignored warnings from an education specialist and district psychologist that J.B.M. was the victim of bullying and that the problem needed to be addressed, the suit says.

At one point, the suit alleges, J.B.M. was told not to contact his mother at school."


Anonymous said...

i used to go to Showalter middle school about 5 years ago. Who the Fuck sues the school district for 1.5 million? are you serious? not like foster or showalter get enough money for anything and now you gotta sue them. i wanna know who this person is that suing Tukwila school district.

TUK Town!

Anonymous said...

The school should fucking lose this case. This kid is completely emotionally scarred for like and the school 100% could of prevented it. SHAME ON THE DAMN TUKWILA SCHOOL DISTRICT!!!

Shea's Mom said...

Wow, this one hit a nerve. I too was wondering why they waited so long but it may take a while to realize how bad the situation was. The school district had so many chances to make right on this...but didn't.

No school district can afford to loose 1.5 million but then again, they should have protected that kid. I bet they, and a lot of other school districts, will pay more attention now.

Anonymous said...

I work for the Tukwila School District. While it is far from perfect, I can assure you that bullying is taken very seriously. It amazes me how people read articles such as this and take it as fact simply because it is in a paper.

Shea's Mom said...

Fair enough. I appreciate your 1st hand perspective. I am sure there is a lot more focus on bullying now but apparently not back then.

We'll see how the suit turns out.

Heather said...

Both my kids have gone to Tukwila schools. My son is Dylsexic, ADHD and has Developmental Apraxia of Speech. Tukwila Elementary School was absolutely fabulous. But they didn't have the resources to help my son (or my extremely gifted older daughter) The middle school was a known disaster. I had reports from friends kids of serious fighting, power tripping teachers, name calling, bullying and discrimination and a principal who was being protected by the administration despite poor performance. I regretfully made the decision that my kids needed to go elsewhere for middle school. That was 6 years ago. Much has changed. There is a new district superintendent, new principals at both the middle and high school and much progress. But the district is still horribly underresourced for the challenges it faces. This whole things makes me sad and mad.

Shea's Mom said...

Each parent make the best decisions they can for their own kids. Deciding to move your kids to a different middle school shows your involvement and good intention. Good for you.

I am sad about this too. Your comment about under-resourced speaks volumes. If we as a society continue to under fund our public schools we will only have ourselves to blame for the certain negative consequences.

Thanks for your input.

Anonymous said...

I am an Alumni of Foster High School. I attended Tukwil School District when it was Southcentral School District. I was the only Student on a committee to help advance our high school and lower class sizes. I was bullied as a student who preferred not to hang with the jocks and 'snobs', however, it was normal to gain this from peers. I can assure you that any physical abuse was and is taken very seriously. I do believe that the system has failed since graduation though. I loved this school system, but family have chosen to move their children due to poor organization... and the tendancy to lose track of children. I do not understand what happened in this case and am not obliged to judge. But the teachers I had growing up would not have tolerated this type of behavior.

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