Monday, July 11, 2011

More Pending Fayette County Litigation

It's been a while now since a few KSN&C readers asked me to look into other cases pending against the Fayette County schools. My apologies for just now getting around to it....but it's been a very productive year for academic writing.  : )

First, there is still no final action from the Kentucky Court of Appeals on Rosalind Hurley-Richards. Scheduled in April, appeals typically come back in 60 - 90 days, so we ought to be very close to a decision now.

Another case pending before the Kentucky Court of Appeals is,

Florence v LaFeesha Patton 
as next friend of Jane Doe (08-CI-02053).

According to the brief for the appellant, Florence is appealing the denial of immunity.

Case arises out of bullying incidents alleged to have occurred between January 2008 and April 2008 at Crawford Middle School where the minor child Jane Doe was a student. The case was brought by her mother, LaFeesha Patton. Defendants named in the suit includes Superintendent Stu Silberman, Principal Joyce Florence, Associate Principal Michael Bayless, Director of Middle Schools Michael Ernst, School Administration Manager Perry Stevenson and Guidance Counselor Rosemary Cheek.

The first incident between Doe and any other students occurred on January 14, 2008. Doe says she and KG were in the gym when KG threatened to fight Doe. She responded by threatening to pull KG’s “weave out of her head” if she touch her. Doe admits that the altercation was investigated by Bayless and the students were punished. Doe and KG were suspended for one day.

On January 28, 2008 posting was made on a page belonging to JM. SK viewed the picture and entered a comment. There is no evidence the MySpace page was created at school, or utilize school resources, or that it was ever viewed at school by JM, SK, Doe, or any other student, or that any discussion of the contents of the page ever caused disruption to the educational process at Crawford. Doe alleges she discussed the posting with defendant Bayless.

On February 1 Doe alleges SK pushed her in the hallway when no other students were around. Doe told him not to do it again, but he did. They continued hitting and kicking each other to the point that SK was on the ground and Doe was standing. This was the first physical altercation. Bayless gave SK five days of suspension and Doe was given three.

The MySpace posting was not discovered by Doe and Patton until sometime in early February 2008 and was reported to school personnel by e-mail on February 4. Florence met with SK and he did not deny making the comment online. Florence informed SK of the inappropriateness of the behavior but said she could not take disciplinary action because the conduct did not cause any disruption of school day.

Doe also alleges comments toward her by SK continued all through the month of February and March and that she reported this to her teachers.

Another incident occurred between JM and Doe, when Doe made insensitive comments in class suggesting that an adult should be embarrassed to have to rely on food stamps. Because JM’s family relies on food stamps, the two students exchanged words and were removed from class.

On April 8, Doe alleges SK bumped her with his shoulder in the hallway and said "excuse you" as though she had bumped into him. Doe alleges that SK continued to make comments to her on a regular basis. On April 14, Doe met with defendant Cheek and shared feelings with her that she found to be of sufficient concern to contact Patton while Doe was still in Cheek’s office. She recommended to Patton that Doe be evaluated and seek counseling. Doe was soon withdrawn from school.

The Verified complaint filed by Patton alleged numerous incidents of physical bullying and cyber bullying, that Doe was subjected to numerous "beatings," assault, that Doe and SK were intentionally placed in class together and that Florence and the other defendants refused to punish the other students. Patton alleges these events led to anxiety attacks in Doe. Patton claims negligence (including negligent supervision of subordinates and students) and violations of state constitutional rights.r case2010-CA-000840010-CA-000840 2010-CA-000840

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