Fourth Grader Sues Fellow Student For Bullying
On this blog, from time to time I provide some commentary on news stories involving bullying. There was the case of students tormenting a 68-year-old bus monitor:
And another one in which a 12-year-old girl leaped to her death after more than a year of being cyberbullied:
And several others as well.
The Latest Case
This week I learned about some parents who are trying a new approach to addressing the bullying problem. According to a June 18, 2014 story by NBC Chicago, a fourth-grader is suing another fourth grader for bullying him.
Contending he has been the victim of bullying which spanned his entire third-grade year, Matthew and Deveri Del Core filed the suit Tuesday on behalf of their son Joaquin, naming a classmate identified only as “C.A.”, along with the boy’s parents, the school district, and Jeffrey Brusso, principal of Robert Frost Elementary.
The lawsuit alleges that Joaquin had been the victim of almost weekly attacks, ranging from hitting, punching, and kicking, to more violent threats. He would wake up at night screaming and crying, terrified, and did not want to go to school.
Joaquin’s parents filed repeated police reports and met with the school, to no avail. In one of those reports, an investigating officer notes that the alleged assailant’s parent said he had “anger issues.”
“The school said they were taking action and assured us it wouldn’t happen again, and it would just keep happening,” Joaquin’s father said. “(They would say) ‘Yes, we’ll handle it, rest assured…’ and then it would happen again a week later!”
So far the case is not going too well from the perspective of Joaquin’s parents:
Within hours of filing the complaint in Cook County Circuit Court, Ms. Del Core said she was fired from her job in the Robert Frost Elementary cafeteria. A termination letter from the school’s cafeteria contractor, said she was being fired ‘at the request of the client,’ because actions she had taken ‘have been detrimental to the physical and mental well-being of students and staff.’
The family’s attorney, Joel Handler, said he would now amend the complaint, to include a charge of retaliatory discharge against the school, for firing the boy’s mother. For their part, the parents said they hoped the lawsuit sends a message.
“Kids, all kids, need to be in a safe and healthy environment to learn in, because learning fuels the rest of your life,” Matthew Del Core said. His wife suggested that the suit might actually help the alleged assailant. “This isn’t just about our son any more,” she said. “This is about the child that’s been bullying our son, that he gets the help that he needs, and that the school provides it for him.”
In the above example, I am relying solely on the NBC Chicago story. I have no first-hand knowledge about what has actually taken place. And of course the story is still unfolding. But I have no doubt that incidences such as the one I just described occur regularly in our schools.
Some people will enjoy reading this blog by beginning with the first post and then moving forward to the next more recent one; then to the next one; and so on. This permits readers to catch up on some ideas that were presented earlier and to move through all of the ideas in a systematic fashion to develop their emotional and social intelligence. To begin at the very first post you can click HERE.