Archive for Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Mediation session fails to reach settlement

Bullying lawsuit against Tonganoxie school district set for trial Aug. 2

July 13, 2005

A second mediation session -- aimed at settling a federal lawsuit against the Tonganoxie school district -- concluded Tuesday afternoon with no settlement.

"It was very brief, and I don't want to comment beyond that," said Kansas City, Mo., attorney Arthur Benson, who represents a former Tonganoxie student who sued the district, alleging he was denied an education because he was bullied at school.

The session was held at the Kansas City, Kan., law offices of Warren McCamish, who served as mediator.

The school district and the former student participated in a previous mediation session -- which was court-ordered -- last year. It, obviously, produced no settlement.

Attorneys are proceeding to trial, which is scheduled for Aug. 2 in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan. A hearing on pre-trial motions is set for 1:30 p.m. July 26.

The lawsuit, which was filed in May 2004, originally contained four counts. Two of those were withdrawn by the student, and a third one was dismissed by U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum.

In addition, the suit originally was filed against the school district, along with school board members and school administrators.

However, those individuals were dismissed as defendants in the suit. The school district remains as the sole defendant, Benson said.

In the lawsuit, the student alleged that other students sexually harassed and bullied him to the point that he left school three months into his junior year.

The former student alleges he was called names such as "fag," "faggot," "queer," "flamer" and "masturbator," from his seventh-grade year until he quit school as a junior. The suit alleges the harassment prevented the student access to an education.

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