Washington School District Loses Bullying Lawsuit

October 21, 2013

A Kitsap Superior Court judge has ordered the Bainbridge Island School District to pay $300,000 in damages for failing to protect a disabled child from bullying and sexual harassment.

Retired Judge Terrence Carroll ruled on Thursday the district was negligent in protecting a then 14-year-old student at Bainbridge High School. The lawsuit was brought by his parents, Jan and Jay Webster, in 2010.

Court documents show the boy was harassed repeatedly until his parents obtained a restraining order and contacted Bainbridge Island Police, who launched an investigation. Four male high school students were found guilty of criminal conduct related to bullying.

Court documents say the boy, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, required years of therapy and anti-anxiety medication.

A lawyer for the family, Tom Vertetis, called the decision an important verdict for families with disabled children in public schools.

Requests for comment from the school district were not immediately returned on Friday afternoon.

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