School officials face possible lawsuit
Published 5:37 pm, Wednesday, May 23, 2012
The parents of a girl expelled from Schaghticoke Middle School in New Milford as an eighth-grade student last year have threatened to sue the New Milford school district.
The parents say their daughter is a victim of severe bullying and physical assaults at New Milford High School this year.
In a notice filed May 5 at Town Hall, the parents wrote they are considering a lawsuit to ensure their daughter gets a proper education.
The parents said they were forced to remove her from school in November after she was "assaulted" in the cafeteria.
The Spectrum does not identify minors in such cases and, because identifying the parents also would identify the daughter, The Spectrum also is not identifying the parents.
"After escalating incidents of bullying and physical assaults continued to be brought to the attention of not only NMHS staff but the assistant superintendent and the superintendent, with no action taken to protect our daughter, we had no choice but to remove (her) from the dangerous situation at the high school," the parents wrote.
The New Milford Board of Education had a one-hour executive session to discuss the possible litigation.
The parents said their daughter has experienced further suffering "from the continued abuse and neglect at the hands of New Milford High School, and the administration at central office. ... This neglect was brought to the attention of school administrators in September 2011."
In September 2010, the girl was expelled from Schaghticoke, along with a male student, for a Facebook posting that included a threat against a school administrator and the building.
The mothers of both students said their children had shown poor judgment in the Facebook post; however, both felt the punishment had been severe because of administrators' dislike for the students.
The girl's mother repeatedly complained to school authorities that the girl had been a target of student harassment ignored by school officials, who denied those allegations.
In April 2011, the parents of both students notified the schools they might seek legal action, but instead they filed a complaint with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.
Findings related to that complaint were not publicly released.
In the most recent complaint, the parents of the girl claim high school staff showed a "blatant disregard" for their daughter's welfare.
"After months of testing and evaluations, and a diagnosis of (post traumatic stress disorder) by a physician hired by the district, with the determination that (the student) would not return to NMHS, to date there has been no appropriate outside placement provided," the parents said. "In addition, the tutoring provided to (the student) for almost five months has been woefully inadequate."