Student’s father sues local school district over bullying

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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - The father of a 14-year-old student in the Killeen School District has filed a federal lawsuit that alleges the district failed to rectify bullying and sexual harassment incidents that were reported to school officials.

The girl’s father, through his attorney, filed the lawsuit in Waco’s federal district court which alleges the district “violated the various rights of (the victim).”

KWTX sent a query for a response, at the district’s request, to Mike Harper, the KISD’s professional standards administrator, but he did not immediately reply.

When the allegations first surfaced in March 2015, the district said they were being investigated.

“We take all allegations of this nature seriously and we will take appropriate actions responding in accordance with (School) Board policy and the Student Code of Conduct as warranted. The safety, security and wellbeing of our students, staff and community remain our top priority,” a statement from Killeen School Superintendent John Craft said at the time.

The lawsuit says over a period of time, while a student at Rancier Middle School, the girl was physically, emotionally and sexually harassed by boys in her class.

The attorney, in the court complaint, says the father chose to file the lawsuit to “prevent the same thing from happening to another child and another family,” the petition says.

The victim entered Rancier Middle School in ninth grade where over the course of the next three years she says she was physically and sexually harassed by a number of male students a number of times.

So severe was the bullying that finally she changed schools.

Within a short time of beginning classes at Rancer, the victim became an object of attention among boys on the campus, the petition says.

“…What might be considered normal ‘playground games’ soon became harassment and even physical touching with sexual connotations,” the petition says.

The victim, on at least a few occasions, filled out complaint forms and handed them to school officials but to her knowledge, she said, officials never completed an investigation into her complaints.

The petition says the sexual harassment had names like “touch-titty Tuesday, hump Wednesday, twerk Thursday and slap-butt Friday, and that those names were well known to school officials but still they took no action.

Soon other boys joined in the activity, as well.

After the victim made complaints to officials, the boys approached her at home and made threats of violence against her for reporting their misconduct, the petition says.

At one point the ISD superintendent told the girl’s father that (she) was to blame for the harassment.”

It was at that point that the girl was moved to another school.

But after transferring to Palo Alto Middle School, students there learned of the victim complaints and the bullying began anew.

The petition asks the judge to award the defendant damages for physical pain in the past, medical expenses, mental anguish in both the past and the future, mental health expenses in both the past and the future, physical impairment and other out-of-pocket expenses incurred by the victim and her family.

The lawsuit also asks the judge to require the district to adopt an anti-bullying and harassment program and adopt policies and procedures in line with the ‘Dear College Letter’ from October 26, 2010 that provides anti-bullying instruction and other issues associated with bullying and harassment.

Finally the petition calls for judgement “against the district in the manner and practices noted … and in an amount sufficient to fully compensate (the plaintiffs) for the elements of damage enumerated … judgement for damages, recovery of attorney’s fees and costs for the preparation for trial on this cause of action and for the appeal, if required.”

The family is being represented by attorney Martin J. Cirkiel, of Round Rock.

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