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PATTON v. BICKFORD

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Court of Appeals of Kentucky.

Sheila PATTON, Administratrix of the Estate of Stephen Lawrence Patton, Appellant v. Davida BICKFORD; Paul Fanning; Ronald “Sonny” Fentress; Jeremy Hall; Angela Mullins; Lynn Handshoe; and Greg Nichols, Appellees.

No. 2012–CA–000598–MR.

— July 19, 2013

Before CLAYTON, LAMBERT, and VANMETER, Judges. Vanessa B. Cantley, Louisville, KY, for Appellant. Michael J. Schmitt, Jonathan C. Shaw, Paintsville, KY, for Appellees Davida Bickford; Paul Fanning; and Ronald “Sonny” Fentress. Neal Smith, Pikeville, KY, for Appellees Jeremy Hall; Angela Mullins; Lynn Handshoe; and Greg Nichols.

OPINION

Sheila Patton, as administratrix of Stephen Lawrence Patton’s estate (referred to as “the Estate”), appeals from the Floyd Circuit Court’s order granting summary judgment in favor of Davida Bickford (referred to as “Principal”), Paul Fanning and Ronald “Sonny” Fentress (collectively referred to as “Superintendents”), and Jeremy Hall, Angela Mullins, Lynn Handshoe, and Greg Nichols (collectively referred to as “Teachers”). For the following reasons, we affirm.

The Estate filed the underlying wrongful death action against the Teachers, Principal, and Superintendents, in their individual capacities, alleging negligence in failing to supervise Stephen Patton and other students at Allen Central Middle School (“ACMS”). The Estate claims that the Teachers, Principal, and Superintendents failed to comply with ACMS’s and Floyd County School Board’s anti-bullying policies and procedures, which resulted in Stephen’s being subjected to constant bullying, and eventually taking his own life.

The Teachers, Principal, and Superintendents moved for summary judgment, which the trial court granted on two grounds: (1) the Teachers, Principal, and Superintendents were entitled to qualified official immunity and (2) Stephen’s act of suicide was an intervening and superseding act which cut off any liability. This appeal followed.

Summary judgment shall be granted only if “the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, stipulations, and admissions on file together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.” CR 1 56.03. The trial court must view the record “in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion for summary judgment and all doubts are to be resolved in his favor.” Steelvest, Inc. v. Scansteel Serv. Ctr., Inc., 807 S.W.2d 476, 480 (Ky.1991) (citations omitted). Further, “a party opposing a properly supported summary judgment motion cannot defeat it without presenting at least some affirmative evidence showing that there is a genuine issue of material fact for trial.” Id. at 482 (citations omitted).

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March 2013: Florida Bus Aide Bullies 5 Year Old Special Needs Student

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Posted by Maria Mangicaro
Bullying Prevention Advocate
mangicaro829@aol.com

Published on Apr 3, 2013
Visit My Website:http://www.adviseshow.com

Florida School Bus Aide Arrested for Allegedly Bullying 5-Year-Old Boy

March 30, 2013

A school bus aide in Port Saint Lucie, Fla. was arrested and charged with stalking after surveillance footage showed her allegedly bullying a 5-year-old boy.

Newly released surveillance videos show Daneta McPherson, 37, yelling at the boy and threatening to take him home with her.

In the video, McPherson is seen towering over the child, reducing him to tears as she berates him on the bus.

On at least one occasion, McPherson grabbed the boy and caused him to hit his head on the side of the bus, according to the police report.

A school employee first reported the alleged abuse to police and provided them with videos in December. After a four month long investigation, McPherson was arrested on Thursday.

“He’s an innocent victim,” Port Saint Lucie assistant police chief Richard Del Toro said. “It’s a violation of public trust, as far as I’m concerned.”

McPherson was released from jail on $20,000 bond. Calls to McPherson were not immediately returned Saturday.

The director of communication for the St. Lucie County Schools told “Good Morning America” that McPherson was still with the school district, but in a role away from students.

Her status with the school is pending the legal process, the spokeswoman said.

The boy’s family declined to comment.

N.J. Bullying Case Law: L.W. v. Toms River Regional Schools Board of Education

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Posted by Maria Mangicaro
Bullying Prevention Advocate
mangicaro829@aol.com

From the Education Law Center:

“Founded in 1973, the Education Law Center (ELC) serves as the leading voice for New Jersey’s public school children and has become one of the most effective advocates for equal educational opportunity and education justice in the United States.”

Bullying

According to national survey results, bullying affects approximately 30% of students in the United States, whether they are bullies, targets, or both. Bullying may be physical (hitting or punching), verbal (name-calling or teasing), emotional (intimidation through gestures or social exclusion), or, increasingly, cyberbullying (sending insults or threats through electronic communication). Research shows that by creating a climate of fear and disrespect in schools and adversely impacting student learning, bullying negatively impacts not only those directly involved, but also the bystanders to this behavior. Those who are bullied are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide, while those who bully are at risk of other antisocial or violent behavior.

New Jersey school districts have been officially required to take measures to prevent and respond to bullying since 2002, when the State’s first anti-bullying statute, N.J.S.A. 18A:37-13, was enacted.  In 2007, in L.W. v. Toms River Regional Schools Board of Education, which ELC joined as an amicus, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that a school district can be sued for damages, under the Law Against Discrimination (LAD), for not responding reasonably to bias-based student-on-student bullying and harassment that creates a hostile educational environment. Relief under the LAD is limited to students who are targeted for bullying based on a characteristic protected by the law, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

Following the L.W. decision, the State created the New Jersey Commission on Bullying in Schools to study and recommend ways to strengthen New Jersey’s approach to the problem.  Through its active participation in the New Jersey Coalition for Bullying Awareness and Prevention, a coalition of advocacy organizations, government agencies, and service providers whose goal is to eliminate bullying in New Jersey’s schools, ELC was invited to serve on the law committee established to advise the Commission.

The Commission issued a comprehensive report in 2009, establishing a road map for the legal and policy reforms needed to combat bullying in New Jersey’s schools.  That report heavily influenced the drafting of New Jersey’s “Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act,” which was signed into law on January 5, 2011 and is considered to be the strongest anti-bullying legislation in the country.

Current Issues

Under the Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act, effective in the 2011-2012 school year, all New Jersey school districts must strengthen their standards and procedures for preventing, reporting, investigating and responding to incidents of harassment, intimidation, and bullying (HIB) of students, both in school and off school premises.  In addition, school districts must comply with enhanced public reporting and training requirements, appoint an Anti-Bullying Specialist and Safety Team at every school, and appoint an Anti-Bullying Coordinator for every district.  The Department of Education also has increased responsibilities under the law, including requirements to investigate HIB complaints that have not been adequately addressed at the local level and to create and administer a Bullying Prevention Fund.
Click here to visit the Education Law Center website.

Karen Klein: Bus Monitor Bullied By Students On School Bus Speaks Out On ‘Today Show’ June 21, 2012

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Posted by Maria Mangicaro
Bullying Prevention Advocate
mangicaro829@aol.com

Published on Jun 21, 2012
Karen Huff Klein, a school bus attendant in Greece, N.Y. was caught on video enduring a brazenly profane storm of insults from a group of middle school students. An investigation as since ensued, as well as a fund-raising effort to give Klein the vacation of a lifetime.

Bullied NY Bus Monitor Teaches Kindness Year Later

By CAROLYN THOMPSON 06/23/13

GREECE, N.Y. — No new carpet or furniture for the home she’s lived in for 46 years. No fancy car in the driveway.

After being gifted a life-changing sum following a school bus bullying episode seen around the world a year ago, former bus monitor Karen Klein says she really hasn’t changed all that much.

Sure, the “Today” show mug she drinks coffee from reminds her of the widespread media attention her story brought, and the occasional stranger wants to snap her picture.

She’s also retired, something the 69-year-old widow couldn’t afford before.

But Klein, who drove a school bus for 20 years before spending three years as a monitor, remains as unassuming as she was before learning firsthand how the kindness of strangers can trump the cruelty of four adolescent boys.

Click here to read the rest of the story.