CENTRAL ISLIP - A Long Island mom has filed a lawsuit against the Central Islip School District on behalf of her 16-year-old daughter, who she says has not been protected from bullies at her school.
"She’s been bullied by groups of girls that follow her home," said Latasha Bennett. "She just lives in a world of fear and paranoia now."
Bennett says the bullying has been going on since her daughter was in Middle School. At one point a staff member was assigned by the district to make sure her daughter was safe however she was anything but back in October when her mother says she was sexually assaulted by a known "groper."
The family’s attorney, Kenneth Mollins, who calls the incident a clear case of negligence says the district tried to cover it up and never called the police.
The district has not commented on the claims.
"An administrator came in and said to her ‘I don’t want you to tell your mom about this if you do or if you touch your phone, you’ll be suspended’," Mollins said.
The family ended up filing a police report and says the student was arrested and sent to night school, but he’s expected to return to the building next week.
"They told me they spoke to the boy," Bennett said. "They tried to hush me."
Bennett plans to keep her daughter home from school until the district can guarantee her safety. The victim’s sister, who graduated last year, says even teachers have a hard time protecting themselves as seen in this video where a teacher suffered a traumatic brain injury after trying to break up a fight.
"There are no consequences for anybody," the victim’s sister said.
Similar problems are not limited to Central Islip, outraged parents in the Lindenhurst School District argued with the School Board on Wednesday night after a middle schooler was stabbed last month.
There have been other incidents involving violence in Uniondale and Riverhead. Parent Ralph DeLustro filed a notice of claim against the Three Village School District after his 13-year-old son was allegedly strangled by a bully.
"The principal says it’s the superintendent, superintendent says it’s the principal," DeLustro said. "Someone figure it out."
The lawsuits seek millions in damages but those involved say it’s not about the money, it’s about stopping a culture of bullying and making schools a safer place for students.