BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Closing arguments are underway in a million dollar lawsuit brought by a family who says their special needs child was relentlessly harassed at school.
Weijia Jiang explains why the judge is dropping nine of the charges in the case.
The judge said a lot of the allegations were very vague and so he threw out a majority of the charges. The parents said their child was bullied and will never be the same. After nearly two hours of closing arguments, it’s now up to a jury to decide.
Deciding whether two Baltimore City principals failed to protect a 10-year-old special needs student from being intensely bullied at school is now up to a jury. In a $1.3 million civil lawsuit, Ed and Shawna Sullivan say their son was hit, tripped, robbed, heckled and even choked until he passed out.
“The failure on the part of these individual schools is a matter of fact,” said Ed Sullivan.
The family alleges that the principals of Hazelton Elementary and Glenmount Elementary knew about repeated incidents that victimized the boy and his sister, but didn’t act. The Sullivans are also suing the school system for gross negligence.
Before closing arguments, the judge threw out nine of the 13 charges, saying this case is one painted with a broad brush, one that offers no timeline of events.
The Sullivans insist they reported foul play on a daily basis by phone but admit they filed no written complaints, no photos or records of injuries and no names of whom they spoke with. They did not fill out a state bullying, harassment and intimidation form available to all parents, because they say they didn’t know it existed.
“If I knew there was a bullying sheet, absolutely I would have filled it out at the time. I didn’t have that information,” Sullivan said.
The defense attorney fired back, saying the boy is violent and volatile, engaging in arguments. He suffered a traumatic brain injury at 13 weeks old, leaving him with behavioral and social disorders. One principal says she met with one child accused of hitting the boy and his parent, but didn’t suspend him. She said, “Every fight or incident is not necessarily bullying or harassment.”
The jury has been sent home for the day. Deliberations will resume Thursday.
The Sullivans say their son is now enrolled in a charter school and is doing well.