Courthouse News Service

Courthouse News Service

Kid Says He Was Paralyzed by School Bully
     SCRANTON, Pa. (CN) - A young boy became permanently paralyzed after he was thrown into a brick wall and subjected to a "brutal attack" by a class bully at Central Columbia Middle School, the child and his mother claim in federal court.
     Samuel Brown, now 14, says he and other classmates were bullied for years by James Kelly III, but neither the school nor Kelly's mother, Tammie, kept the boy from harming his "innocent classmates."
     On Sept. 22, 2009, Brown and Kelly were re-entering the school after gym class, when Kelly "physically assaulted and battered" him "by violently throwing him into a brick wall," according to the complaint.
     Brown tried to flee into the school but Kelly allegedly continued the attack, throwing him into lockers and against the hallway walls.
     The beating left Brown with "back contusions and spasm, transverse myelitis and paraplegia," according to the complaint.
     Despite Kelly's long history of bullying classmates, resulting in several complaints, the school exhibited "callous disregard" of the violence and even "criticized complaining students" as "tattletales."
     "Despite this knowledge of actual incidents of prior attacks and bullying, defendant James Kelly III was permitted by School District Defendants to commit unfettered bulling upon innocent classmates," Brown and his mother, Cheri Roquet, say.
     The lawsuit names as defendants Kelly, his mother, the Central Columbia School District, Principal Chad Heintzelman, Assistant Principal Tom Sharrow, Superintendent Harry Mathias and physical education teacher Sandra Bennett.
     Brown and his mother say the school "failed to adopt and implement policies intended to respond to and minimize or prevent violence and bullying," "recklessly and intentionally failed to suspend and/or remove a known violent student who repeatedly attacked and bullied other students and minor Plaintiff for years," and "recklessly permitted minor Plaintiff and minor Defendant to attend the same gym class, despite specific knowledge of past bullying of minor Plaintiff by minor Defendant."
     Kelly's mother also "knew that the minor Defendant was bullying minor Plaintiff for years prior to the incidents at issue, but failed to discipline or exert parental control to stop her child from the continuous bullying of minor Plaintiff."
     Instead, she "disregarded these past complaints of her son's violent behavior toward other children and took no disciplinary measures to prevent her child from harming others."
     Brown and his mother seek compensatory and punitive damages for negligence and constitutional violations. They are represented by Nathan Fox of Begley, Carlin and Mandio in Langhorne. 

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