'Scared for their lives,' 6 families file bullying lawsuit against JCPS claiming federal civil rights violations
A lawsuit filed Thursday against Jefferson County Public Schools paints a picture of students bullied and battered until bloody -- and parents say they were ignored.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A lawsuit filed Thursday against Jefferson County Public Schools paints a picture of students bullied and battered until bloody -- and parents say they were ignored.
The stories originate from a federal lawsuit in which parents of current and former Crosby Middle School students provide what they say is their side in what happened.
Five parents and a grandparent say the district is violating civil rights laws by not protecting their kids.
Three of the parents told their stories Thursday morning, alongside Teddy Gordon, the Louisville lawyer who took JCPS to the U.S. Supreme Court over busing issues.
"He was actually slapped repeatedly in the face with two staff present in classroom...and no one saw it," said Vickie Santana, whose child attended the school in the 6th and 7th grades.
"He was intimidated, humiliated, he threw up and cried and begged not to go to school," said Kim Seewer, whose child attended the school in the 6th grade.
All six told of abuse and attacks, humiliation, daily fights, and little-to-no protection at Crosby Middle School. The lawsuit names the Crosby Middle principal, vice principals, school counselors and JCPS superintendent as defendants.
The issues go back to 2014 and five of the six kids mentioned are no longer at the school.
"It got bad," said Bethany Littlefield, a parent at Crosby Middle School. "In February of last year, he attempted to end his pain the only way he knew how -- and I had to put him in Our Lady of Peace."
"Crosby Middle School is a den of anarchy," said Gordon. "On each and every day that these kids or these students had to attend school, they were scared for their lives, basically."
"The place is a survival of the fittest," Littlefield said. "My child wouldn't even stop at his locker because of how crazy the hallways are."
Crosby Middle School was the subject of a recent WDRB investigation. The school reported 336 harassment and bullying incidents last year -- among the most in JCPS.
"That is unacceptable -- that anyone is bullied -- so we take, obviously, that very seriously," said JCPS Donna Hargens at the time of the investigation.
"I asked for a bodyguard," said Littlefield. "They assigned a student to walk him from class-to-class."
"Kids shouldn't have to go through this on a daily basis," said Seewer.
A district spokesperson today said JCPS will not comment on the case, since it is still pending.
These complaints go back as far as 2014. All of the parents say this is a last resort: they say they've had meetings, tried transfers and in many cases gone to police, but have experienced no change.
Below is a copy of the lawsuit:
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