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A California School District Has Been Ordered To Pay $1 Million To A Former Harassed Student

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

A Californian school district has been ordered by the Court to pay $1 million to a middle school student it failed to protect. According to the lawsuit filed against the school district, the student was bullied, verbally assaulted, and tormented. Her bullies even went as far as starting a petition to end her life.

The student, recognized as a 13-year-old girl called Eleri Irons, reportedly endured this maltreatment from three bullies from 2017 till June 2018. A lawsuit was filed against the district in 2019. The suit added that the student suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It added that Irons “cut herself and sought refuge in the school nurse’s office nearly every lunch break.”

The jurors ruled that the school district failed in its responsibility to properly train and supervise its workers. As the workers also failed to protect the middle school student from bullies who almost ended her life. 

According to reports, Irons’s nightmare worsened after the teachers failed to react actively after discovering what was happening. The teachers knew that a petition dubbed “Let’s kill Eleri Irons” was going around the school, but they did not act to end it or punish the ones sharing it.

In addition, Eleri’s parents found out about this petition and visited the school to inform the officials and ask for their help. However, they all merely dismissed it as they said there was no need to be concerned about the “drama over a teen love triangle.”

More so, Melissa Gooden, the former principal of the El Segundo Middle school who is now the executive director of human resources with the district, was alerted about this issue. Instead of acting, Gooden allegedly lied that she immediately called the police as she learned of the petition. 

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Eleri’s attorney, Christa Ramey, said, “She didn’t call the police that day. She attempted to make it seem like they did everything they could, but in reality, during the entire year, they didn’t do anything. They never investigated a single claim of bullying made by my client.” A police report was reportedly filed moments before Eleri’s parents met with the district’s administrators, contrary to Melissa’s claim, and the district took no action.

Ramey added, “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.”

Following the Court’s ruling, Melissa said, “As a school district, we 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.”

Eleri, who is no longer a minor at 18, said she is still traumatized from the incident but has forgiven the bullies. 

She added that she is thankful that she could share her experience and be taken seriously. She hopes that next time a child asks a school for help, they will recall her story and take the proper steps instead.