The Paulsboro Board of Education and Paulsboro Junior High have agreed to pay $30,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of a former student who was allegedly harassed, bullied and beaten unconscious by other students while district employees did nothing.
The 10-count lawsuit alleged negligence by school staff, failure to train and supervise staff, failure to protect the well-being of students, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violations of the state civil rights laws.
Claims against former superintendent, former school principal, current principal, assistant principal and guidance counselor were dismissed by the student’s father, according to the settlement. NJ Advance Media is not naming the family to protect the student’s identity.
The lawsuit did not detail the age or gender of the student. The student entered Paulsboro Junior High during the 2018-2019 school year and became a target of “unrelenting harassment, intimidation, and bullying by a group of female students,” according to the suit. The mistreatment included threats of violence, the father alleged, and he met with school officials to discuss his concerns.
The behavior continued and grew worse and school personnel told the student to avoid engaging with the other students or just ignore their behavior, the lawsuit alleged. School officials recommended the student avoid contact with the bullies, but no effort was made to deal with the bullies’ conduct, the suit stated.
The situation escalated in 2019 when the family says the student was “brutally assaulted” twice in one day at school.
In the first incident, the child was repeatedly struck in the head and upper back. School staff witnessed the incident but did not intervene, leaving it to students to step in and stop the violence, the suit alleged.
“The assailants were not stopped, taken into custody, or even approached by teachers or school personnel,” the suit stated.
Immediately after the incident, a second assault occurred. The child was again repeatedly struck in the head and upper back, then the student’s head was slammed into a wall. The student lost consciousness and was taken by ambulance to a hospital, according to the suit.
The assaults left the student physically, psychologically and emotionally traumatized, the suit stated. The alleged harassment and threats continued after the assaults.
The student “continues to suffer, and will in the future suffer from anxiety, depression, fear, and trauma associated with the unmitigated, unrelenting, and unaddressed harassment, intimidation, and bullying,” according to the lawsuit.
The Paulsboro Board of Education and Paulsboro Junior High will also pay for the student to attend an alternative high school program until graduation.