The family of a West Deptford High School student is suing the school district after they say she was relentlessly bullied by classmates and no action was taken by officials.
The victim, who is now 15, says the bullying began when she was in 6th grade at middle school and continued into high school. The girl says the bullying got so bad that she refused to start 10th grade last September.
“This young lady was called names that were pretty profound and disgusting very repeatedly,” said Kevin Costello, the girl’s attorney. “They attacked who she was at a very deep level.”
“People would just torment her and say a bunch of things about her,” said Derrick Davenport, a student at West Deptford High. “There was a rumor going on that she was pregnant even though we knew it wasn’t true.”
Costello also says the bullies threatened to shove the girl down the stairs and beat her with a bat. Costello claims the teen and her parents asked the West Deptford School principal and guidance counselor to investigate.
“When students are harassed this way and denigrated and humiliated it’s up to the school to stop it,” Costello said.
The school superintendent was not available to comment on the pending litigation. However, school officials provided a 50-page anti-bullying policy which states that if students or teachers report an incident it must be investigated promptly.
“The investigation shall be initiated by the principal or principal’s designee within one school day of the verbal report of the incident,” the policy states.
Costello claims officials didn’t follow the proper procedure when they were told about the bullying however.
“It was more like, ‘Maybe you have to have thicker skin or just get over it, it will be okay,’” Costello said.
Costello also says there may be evidence of the bullying on cell phone video as well as social media. If it exists, Costello plans to use it in court.