Saturday, 21 April, 2012
The family of a young boy, who was paralysed in an attack by a known bully at his school, have resolved their claim for school bullying injury in an out-of-court settlement worth 4.2 million dollars.
Sawyer Rosenstein (18) of Woodland Park, New Jersey, was a student at the Eric Smith Middle School in Ramsay, New Jersey, and only twelve years of age in May 2006 when a fellow student – known to have a history of violent tendencies – punched him in the abdomen. The attack caused a blood clot to form which prevented blood from reaching Sawyer´s spine and permanently paralysed the young student from the waist down.
In the claim for school bullying injury brought by Sawyer´s parents, it was claimed that school officials were aware of the bully´s violent nature, yet had failed to record any of his misdemeanours or discipline the boy for any of his previous attacks. This failure in the school´s duty of care, they claimed, was in breach of New Jersey´s anti-bullying legislation which had been put in place to prevent this sort of incident occurring.
Sawyer´s parents supported their claim for school bullying injury by providing an email that Sawyer had written to his school guidance counsellor three months prior to the attack. In the email Sawyer had alerted his guidance counsellor to the fact that he was being bullied at school and asked for advice about how to cope with the attacks. He concluded the email “I would just like to put this on file so if something happens again, we can show that there was past bullying situations.”
After several months of negotiations, Ramsay School District agreed to a 4.2 million dollars settlement of Sawyer´s claim for school bullying injury without admission of liability. Sawyer is now a freshman at Syracuse University when he is majoring in communications.
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