A Tennessee woman alleges her special needs daughter was “beaten and whipped” by classmates last August after years of bullying that she said was ignored by school administrators.
The girl, Chrystal Finney, is suing the Giles County Board of Education and its own director, Vickie Beard, alleging negligence. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for Middle Tennessee on Aug. 11, nearly per year following the attack.
The suit alleges that Finney’s daughter, defined as JF in the document, was harassed and bullied for a long time while she attended the Giles County SchoolSystem. The lady has autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, Tourette syndrome along with other disabilities, based on the lawsuit. As a kind of treatment, she uses horse therapy. Once the girl would become overwhelmed, she’d sometimes act “such as a horse by running and making sure sounds a horse could make,” the lawsuit states.
The suit alleges numerous cases of bullying dating to 2013. In a single incident, classmates pushed the lady right into a bathroom, turned the lights off, called her names, laughed at her and avoided her “to hurt her feelings,” the suit claims.
Another allegation is a teacher “ignored JFs condition and intimidated and bullied JF,” the lawsuit says, without providing further details. The suit also says a bus assistant approached the lady, “acted threatening to her” and “scared her.”
Finney sent numerous letters to administrators, but “the institution took no meaningful action to avoid the further harassment and attacks,” based on the lawsuit.
It alleges that the bullying continued and that it escalated on Aug. 13, 2021, when, it says, Finney’s daughter was assaulted within an outside area at Richland SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL.
“Within the designated area, students obtained a stick from the nearby tree and struck JF in the top and body while pretending he was taming a horse an obvious mention of JFs actions associated with her horse therapy,” the suit says.
“Thereafter, a gang of around six other students surrounded JF, joined in on the beating, and begun to strike JF with sticks. This activity drew the eye of other students, including students from other grade levels, which resulted in scores of students that encircled JF in that manner concerning render her struggling to retreat and forced to endure a physical beating by her peers.”
One student pushed the lady off a brief embankment and threw a water bottle at her head, based on the lawsuit.
Area of the attack was captured on cellphone video that Finney shared on a “Justice for Joella” Facebook page. Inside it, several students surrounds the lady. A minumum of one boy includes a long stick in his hand, and another boy seems to walk toward the lady and kick her.
Finney said in the lawsuit that her daughter had scratches and welts on her behalf arm, a personal injury to her head and a mark on her behalf eye.
The Board of Education said in a statement this past year that it had been alert to what happened, that it had informed the correct authorities and that it had been conducting its investigation.
The board and Beard, its director, didn’t immediately react to a obtain comment Thursday. The Giles County Sheriffs Department referred questions to the district attorney’s office, that could not be reached for comment.
Minyvonne Burkeis a senior breaking news reporter for NBC News.