The New York Daily News reports that Stephen Cruz, a senior at Robert F. Kennedy High School, has been awarded $55,000 from the city after a safety agent left him scarred and bleeding in the school bathroom.
Daniel O'Connell, the safety officer referred to as 'Robocop' by the students, kicked in a stall door which struck Cruz on the forehead. In response to what the police initially refered to as an "accident," Cruz said O'Connell told him, "That's life; it will stop bleeding." and left without attempting to assist Cruz or obtain any medical assistance. The lawsuit also states that there was no reason for O'Connell to kick open the stall door.
A little over a year later, Cruz, still sporting the scar from the September '08 incident, now has his lawsuit settled, but Jeffrey Rothman sees more to be done.
Reported in the Courthouse News Service, the family's personal injury attorney said, "The settlement does not change the fact that Stephen was recklessly and pointlessly assaulted at school by an adult assigned to protect him... The city counsel must take action to ensure other students don't experience similar abuse."
That is exactly what the Student Safety Act is hoping to accomplish. A hearing on Tuesday, November 10 at 1pm preceding a rally at noon, will center around the act which would require safety officers to report to the City Council. The city is expecting quite a turnout considering the other instances of questionable safety officer decisions including handcuffing a 5-year-old boy.
To protect the students and children, all are encouraged to attend and offer their voice. For a better understanding of the Student Safety Act and what safety officers' restrictions are, you can contact a New York Personal Injury Attorney.
- Lawsuit (Courthouse News)
- Cruz Settlement (NYCLU)
- Information about the Hearing (NYCLU)
- First Steps After an Injury (FindLaw)
- Student Safety Act (NYCLU)