School district will pay $25K to settle suit alleging 10-year-old was racially bullied
A Monmouth County school district will pay $25,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the parents of a 10-year-old who say their Latino son was racially harassed by other students for months and repeatedly called a derogatory name.
The parents of a student at Lloyd Road Elementary School filed the discrimination lawsuit last January alleging the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District did nothing to stop their son, who is Puerto Rican, from being bullied by three classmates during the 2017-2018 school year.
By settling the suit, the school district does not admit to any wrongdoing, and the district’s superintendent did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The first bullying incident occurred in November 2017, when a student called the victim a derogatory name for Hispanics, according to the suit filed in Superior Court of Monmouth County.
Afterwards, the student’s mother reported the harassment to the principal’s assistant and a counselor, but no Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying investigation was conducted, the complaint alleges. She later notified the principal, Joseph Jerabek, but nothing was done then either, the parents allege.
The bullies continued the harassment, making fun of his weight, tripping him in the hallway and making an online post saying no one should be friends with him, the complaint contends.
In May 2018, a student was in a bathroom with the victim and kicked a bucket at him that was underneath a urinal - which was collecting urine and water, according to the complaint.
The assistant principal told the victim’s parents their son was suspended for three days because of comments he made toward the other student during the incident, the suit claims.
“The harassment of (the student) was purposeful, willful, and intentional, and members of defendant’s upper management and administrative staff were made aware of the harassment, and were willfully indifferent,” the complaint states.
Under the settlement agreement, entered on Tuesday, about $17,500 will be deposited in a trust fund for the victim.