The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Web Extra

October 17, 2013

Jury awards $50,000 to high school bullying victim

ANDERSON, Ind. — A jury has awarded the victim of extreme bullying $50,000, holding her high school liable for its response when digitally-altered and sexually suggestive photos of her circulated among students five years ago.

The six-person jury ruled Tuesday in favor of the woman and her family after they sued the school system and Pendleton Heights High School in Pendleton, north of Indianapolis. The award followed a three-day civil trial.

According to court documents, when the woman, who was 15 at the time, went to school on March 11, 2008, she found there were pictures posted around the school that had been edited with computer software, showing her in a sexually suggestive manner. The fliers also included her phone number.

The case files indicate school officials identified the culprit and immediately suspended him from school, though the victim's family said he was only transferred to another school. He was also charged as a minor for distribution of child pornography and child exploitation and was later placed on juvenile detention.

The woman and her family claimed that South Madison Community School Corp. was negligent in its handling of the matter, that proper counseling wasn't offered to the victim after the incident and that the family struggled to recover.

According to case documents, South Madison denied negligence and contended it acted with reasonable care in the matter.

"I'm glad they found them liable for what happened," the victim said after the Tuesday hearing.

The decision comes on the heels of a state law passed this year that requires school districts to adopt plans with specific timetables for reporting bullying, reporting methods, and a detailed plan of action once bullying is reported, according to an Associated Press report.

One key witness in the case was Dr. Pamela Porter, an expert in post-traumatic stress disorder who counseled the victim and her family after the incident. Porter said the woman now suffers symptoms of PTSD. The victim reported having symptoms of a panic attack the day of the incident, Porter said, and still has difficulty interacting with people without feeling anxious.

Details of this story were reported by The Anderson (Ind.) Herald-Bulletin.

1
Text Only
Web Extra
  • Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 2.00.42 PM.png VIDEO: Train collides with semi truck carrying lighter fluid

    A truck driver from Washington is fortunate to be alive after driving his semi onto a set of tracks near Somerset, Ky., and being struck by a locomotive, which ignited his load of charcoal lighter fluid.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 22, 2014

  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 22, 2014

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 22, 2014

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

  • Facebook tests button to let people shop from its website

    Members on desktop computers or mobile devices can click a "buy" button to make purchases through advertisements or other posts on the world's largest social network, the Menlo Park, California-based company said Thursday in a blog post.

    July 18, 2014

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 18, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • web_starbucks-cof_big_ce.jpg Starbucks sees more Apple-like stores after Colombia debut

    This week Starbucks opened its first location in Colombia — a 2,700-square-foot store with a heated patio, concrete columns, mirrors on the ceiling and walls of colorful plants.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: New story emerges about Texas children locked in hot car

    After footage showed Texas shoppers breaking the windows of a hot car to rescue children trapped inside, additional witnesses have come forward to correct the story behind what has become a viral video.

    July 16, 2014