El Segundo Unified, a school district in Los Angeles, was made to pay $1 million after authorities there dismissed a teen’s bullying as typical adolescent drama brought on by a love triangle. The student, Eleri Olive Irons, had to deal with bullying for eight months in 2018 when she was 13 and 14.
In April 2019, Eleri and her parents, Natalie and Christopher Irons, filed a lawsuit. According to the Irons’ attorneys, the El Segundo Unified School District said that principal Melissa Gooden was not accountable for the girl’s protection. Eleri suffered from PTSD that caused her to cut herself, and she spent the majority of lunchtimes in the school nurse’s office looking for refuge, according to her attorney, Christa Ramey. During this time, school administrators ignored the girl’s and her parents’ requests for help.
Ramey said that the verdict “will not only compensates my client but also clarifies, for all school administrators, what is bullying and to what extent are school authorities responsible when it happens. Every teacher, counselor and administrator who touched this case failed not only my client, but also the aggressors and every other student at the school. Bullying is to be taken seriously, and the administrators are culpable when they don’t stop it.”
El Segundo Unified School District Superintendent Melissa Moore said that the school would “respect the ruling of the court and acknowledge the findings of the lawsuit. The next steps are up to our legal counsel. As we move forward, we are committed to self-improvement and doing everything we can to prevent bullying in our schools.”
Now 18, Eleri is starting college. The bullying began when she was accused of stealing a guy by two females who both were students at El Segundo Middle School. Her abusers “called her a liar,… cheater and boyfriend-stealer, flipped her off and made fun of her in the hallways, and even slapped her in the face,” the lawyers claimed. “They screamed at her in person and harassed her online,” reported NY Daily News. “One girl in particular had been terrorizing my client all year,” Ramey explained. “The language that she used was horrifying.”
The situation worsened when a parent informed Eleri’s father that teachers were aware of a student-written “Petition to End Eleri Irons’ Life” that had been distributed. Irons called the school, upset that the petition had spread without pushback and that he had not heard from the institution about it. Ramey said that the jury awarded $700,000 in past nonfinancial damages for pain, mental anguish, and distress and $300,000 in perspective noneconomic damages for potential PTSD effects years in the future.
Eleri claims she has overcome her PTSD and now forgives the main offender. She also claims she wants to stop bullying in school for everyone, including the bullies. Eleri claimed of her main tormentor, “The school let her down, too. “I just wanted to make sure the school knew what they did was wrong. Hopefully, this will not happen again to a little girl.”
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