They knew about the bullying.
The school probably never suspected that a student would be blinded, but the victim, Kardin Ulysse, reportedly warned the Dean of Roy H. Mann Junior High School that he had been bullied back in October. That wasn't the only warning sign, either.
Last year, another 13-year-old student filed suit against the same school alleging a pattern of bullying.
A Department of Education survey last year found that 63% of the students at the school reported that others are harassed due to race, religion, ethnicity, gender, etc. Another 40% of the students didn’t feel safe in the building. Finally, 44% said students threaten or bully other students most or all of the time.
With all of those warning signs, you’d think the school would have been more prepared.
Kardin Ulysse was attacked by a pair of seventh-graders. One held him down while the other pulverized his face. They hurled homophobic slurs while at least one of them hurled fists into the child’s face and eyes. It is unknown whether it was the broken lenses from his glasses or the punches that damaged his cornea.
Even after Kardin escaped, they chased him to the cafeteria where the beating continued until school staff finally intervened.
Two surgeries later, he has a patch over one eye and will need a transplant.
The two bullies are being charged criminally and face discipline from the school. But is that enough for a preventable tragedy?
Kardin Ulysse’s parents have filed a notice of intent to file a $16 million lawsuit on behalf of Kardin. The lawsuit will likely be based around negligence claims. School administrators knew or should have known about the school’s bullying problem. The DOE report should have made that clear. The previous bullying incident involving Kardin should have made it clear. The other student’s lawsuit also should have made it clear.
By failing to supervise the students and put up safeguards to protect students against the rampant bullying problem, the school’s behavior fell below what a reasonable school would have done.
Some would say far below what a reasonable school would, and should, have done. Now, they may pay the price.
- Find a New York Personal Injury Attorney (FindLaw)
- NYC 8th-grader: I was blinded in 1 eye by bullies (Associated Press)
- NY School Liability for Bullying (FindLaw’s New York Personal Injury Law Blog)
- Mom Sues School over Student’s Bullying Suicide (FindLaw’s New York Personal Injury Law Blog)
- Second Student in a Week Loses a Finger at NYC Public School (FindLaw’s New York Personal Injury Law Blog)