Robin Sax: You Have Physical Evidence Of Bullying

Robin Sax: You Have Physical Evidence Of Bullying

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A case of bullying at the Chaminade College Prepartory School in West Hills got so out of hand that the bullying victim considered suicide.. and his mother filed a lawsuit.

It went on for more than a year, culminating in an email sent to the faculty, and a cruel entry in his middle-school yearbook.   

Robin Sax is our legal analyst.       

In a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court against Chaminade College Preparatory, a private Catholic middle school located in West Hills, a 13-year-old honors student alleges that he was repeatedly bullied for over a year for, among other things, being "gay," and "fat". 

Yet, when the student, who is not gay, informed the school about the bullying and harassment, the school did nothing to address it.  Notwithstanding knowledge of these actions against the student for approximately one year, Chaminade failed to take remedial action. Subsequently,  an email addressed to the faculty and students of Chaminade was sent to staff and other students calling  the student "Gay", "Fat", that he "weighs 225 pounds", that he "masturbates every day in the school bathroom", that he has a "boyfriend", that he "takes naked pictures of himself every day and posts them online" and that he "eats 6 meals a day and eats a jumbo bag of Cheetos every day (not the baked!)".   Remarkably, even though the student informed Chaminade who he thought sent the email, Chaminade took no investigative or disciplinary action.

A few months after the e-mail was sent, Chaminade circulated and sent to its students, faculty and administrators its annual Yearbook. The Yearbook contained the statement "is gay" written next to the student's name. It is alleged that the same student who bullied the teen for over a year was the student behind the email and contributed to the yearbook incident.

The student feels that his life was devastated. Rather than being recognized for his remarkable scholastic accomplishments and extra-curricular activities, he was subjected to further harassment and bullying without any intervention or help from the school.

"Chaminade emphasizes its commitment to tolerance and principles of the Catholic Church. Yet, it tolerated the bullying and harassment tactics and failed to adequately protect and investigate the student's claims. Even worse, Chaminade denies its responsibility for such failures" said Benjamin Smith, of Krane & Smith in Encino, who represents the family of the student.  Chaminade provided a written statement to Fox 11 LA yesterday indicating that the school is interested in reaching an "amicable resolution to this case". Yet, neither the student nor his families have heard from Chaminade or its counsel since the statement was made.  The trial in this case is set for trial is set for June 17, 2013. 

Benjamin J. Smith, Esq.
Krane & Smith, APC
16255 Ventura Boulevard, Suite 600
Encino, California 91436-2302
Telephone: (818) 382-4000
Facsimile: (818) 382-4001
E-mail: benjamin@kranesmith.com
www.kranesmith.com

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