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Parents Suing Baltimore City School District After Special Needs Son Was Bullied

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A Baltimore family is taking their fight to court. They say their special needs child was bullied at two city schools. Now, their lawsuit goes before a jury.

Mike Hellgren is following the case against the city school system.

Parents of the boy say this has been a nightmare for them and their son. They say they’ve exhausted all their options and filed this lawsuit to show the city schools that this is a problem that has to stop.

Shawna and Eddy Sullivan headed to court in a landmark case against Baltimore City Schools. They claim teachers and administrators did nothing to stop their 10-year-old son, Sean, from being bullied– beaten, yelled at and even choked at incidents in Hazelwood and Glenmount Elementary schools.

“Unfortunately, it is something that has to happen,” Eddy Sullivan said. “The public needs to know what’s going on.”

Their lawyer pushed for and got a jury trial. Most bullying cases never make it that far. And she says, the ordeal left the little boy who has special needs emotionally damaged.

“I will use the word ‘terrorized,'” Donna King, the Sullivan family’s lawyer, said. “This child was terrorized by some of these boys.”

The school system plans to vigorously defend itself against the lawsuit.

“I can’t have no comment,” said Quinton Herbert, lawyer for the Baltimore City Schools. “You could contact our communications department. They will be able to give you some information.”

But WJZ got no comment there either.

The Sullivans say they’re doing this to protect other children.

“You can’t just keep denying that it’s happening and expect that problem to go away,” Shawna Sullivan said. “Children are actually being hurt. And sooner or later, somebody is seriously going to be hurt.”

Two veteran principals were named in this civil lawsuit. They have been front and center throughout the proceedings that were moving very fast with the jury selected Thursday and opening arguments held the same day as well.

The trial is expected to last all through next week.

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