Milford School District wants bullying stats kept secret in suit

By Barrett J. Brunsman
Information that could indicate how widespread bullying has been in the Milford School District shouldn’t be disclosed as part of a lawsuit against the schools, attorneys for the district said in a court filing.

The district has requested that a judge bar the disclosure of the information, claiming it would cause “annoyance, embarrassment … and undue burden and expense,” according to a filing by attorney Bernard Wharton.
Continue reading

Ohio appeals court rules against school district in bullying lawsuit

By Barrett J. Brunsman
Cincinnati Enquirer
The 12th District Court of Appeals in Middletown on Monday upheld a Clermont County judge’s decision that the Milford School District doesn’t have immunity against claims of bullying.

A lawsuit filed last year on behalf of a boy who was bullied by fellow members of the Milford High School freshman basketball team can proceed against the coach and school district, and it could have national implications, a local attorney said.

“Little case law exists regarding (such) challenges,” said attorney Joe Braun of Strauss & Troy, who filed the suit on behalf of the boy and his family. “This area of the law is still developing, and it’s drawn national attention.

“I was recently contacted by attorneys in Tampa who were handling a case with similar facts,” Braun said. “They were looking to this case for guidance as Florida law had little precedent in this area as well.”

Even so, Ohio law is clear that the case against the school district and coach Thomas Kilgore should continue, Braun said.

An attorney handling the case for the school district, Bernard Wharton, didn’t respond to an Enquirer request for comment on the decision.

The Milford School District could appeal Monday’s ruling to the Ohio Supreme Court, or it could try to settle the suit or defend itself at trial. Full story.

Opinion: Bullies grow bolder with new technology

By Peter McBride
Debate team members of a school in Bakersfield, California, encased a younger student in plastic wrap and tape in a hotel room before a competition. Four flag football players held down a younger teammate in a Tampa middle school locker room, according to prosecutors, and raped him with a hockey stick and broom handle.

According to a report by the U.S. Education Department and U.S. Justice Department, 32 percent of students nationwide ages 12 to 18 experienced bullying in the 2007 school year. “The reason it’s picking up momentum is not necessarily the frequency of the bullying, but the manner in which people are engaging in bullying,” said Joe Braun, a Cincinnati attorney. “It’s starting to become more physical, more sexual, and it’s not just emotional bullying like we’ve seen in the past.” Full story.

School bullying, once silent battle, now a crime

By Christine Armario
Associated Press
TAMPA, Fla. — In a Tampa middle school locker room, prosecutors say four flag football players held down a younger teammate and committed a horrifying assault: Raping him with a hockey stick and a broom handle.

“Don’t do it again or this is going to happen to you again,” a witness says he heard one of the boys say in the April attack.

Two decades ago, the attack may have stayed a secret. Victims of hazing, bullying and sexual assault are still often too terrified to report their attackers — though officials say that’s starting to change.

Police are called to investigate everything from cyber-bullying and schoolyard fights to brutal hazing rituals, and tormenters can be prosecuted under anti-bullying laws in dozens of states. Proactive parents aren’t afraid to confront school officials or take the matter to court, and schools are training students and teachers alike to spot and report bullying. Full story.