Father sues Eugene School District over bullying incident on playing field


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EUGENE, Oregon — A father who says his son was bullied on a playing field last year has filed a $600,000 lawsuit against the Eugene School District.

Gregory Bang says Cal Young Middle School officials left students unsupervised during a lunch period last May in which four older boys beat his son. The victim sustained bruising to his face, head, neck and torso, and he continues to suffer psychological damage and pain, according to the lawsuit.

Kerry Delf, a school district spokeswoman, declined comment, telling The Register-Guard (http://is.gd/RFrwqx ) that attorneys have to review the lawsuit filed Wednesday.

According the lawsuit, the incident began when one of the bullies intentionally threw a football at the child's head. Bang's son and one of the other boys then got into a fight. They separated, but another boy quickly tackled and punched the victim.

The other boys then joined in, making it four-against-one before other students intervened and freed the victim.

The lawsuit asserts that school officials knew or should have known that the attackers "had a history of intimidating, harassing and assaulting younger students," and that the officials failed to meet their responsibility of keeping students safe.

Police investigated the attack, and all four boys faced being charged with assault. Instead, their cases were settled in December when they and their parents entered into "formal accountability agreements" with court officials.

The agreements require the youths to take certain steps, such as completing counseling or community service, in exchange for not having charges filed in Juvenile Court.

Principal Kim Watry emailed parents June 3 to address what she characterized as "a troubling incident."

Watry did not identify any of the boys in the email, but she said their behavior "is extremely unusual at our school, and it is absolutely not acceptable."

Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com

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