Cases of bullying that went to court

10/02/2011 12:00 AM

10/02/2011 7:11 AM

Over the past several years, school districts in Kansas and across the country have faced lawsuits and paid hefty settlements in court cases involving bullying. Some examples:

* Jamie Nabozny won a landmark lawsuit in 1996 against officials at his former high school in Ashland, Wis., over their refusal to intervene in "relentless anti-gay verbal and physical abuse by fellow students" that resulted in his hospitalization. Nabozny won $900,000 in damages.

* In 2005, a Kansas teenager who was bullied by his classmates because they believed he was gay was awarded $440,000 in a settlement, ending his long-standing legal battle with the Tonganoxie School District. The student, Dylan Theno, claimed he was harassed with homophobic slurs from the seventh grade until he quit school in his junior year.

* In August 2010, the Pittsburgh, Pa., school district agreed to pay $55,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by parents who said their daughter was subjected to peer bullying and harassment about her weight and eventually had to be hospitalized for anorexia. The suit charged that middle-school administrators knew the student was being harassed but failed to take action or inform the parent of what was happening.

* In December 2010, the Fargo, N.D., school district paid $300,000 in damages and attorney's fees as part of an out-of-court settlement with a former student over allegations that he was repeatedly bullied by classmates from the fifth through the ninth grades.

* This past July, officials with the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education said a school district in California violated federal discrimination and harassment laws when it failed to prevent 13-year-old middle school student Seth Walsh from being repeatedly teased and bullied. Seth, who eventually came out as gay, tried to hang himself and died a week later.

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