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High court dismisses bullying lawsuit against TPS employees

Toledo Blade |

The Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday unanimously sided with a teacher and two administrators of Toledo Public Schools in a lawsuit brought by the parents of a former kindergartner alleging the employees had acted recklessly in not preventing bullying by another student.

Employees of a political subdivision — such as a school district — are generally immune from lawsuits unless it can be shown that they acted recklessly. The decision reverses a 2-1 ruling by visiting judges sitting for the Sixth District Court of Appeals that had resurrected a lawsuit against the three employees after it had been dismissed in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

The lawsuit stemmed from the 2015-16 school year when the cheek of a student at DeVeaux Elementary School was allegedly “punctured” with a sharpened pencil by a fellow kindergartner after a series of other alleged bullying incidents. The alleged victim was 4 years old when she began school and was reportedly subjected to verbal teasing and physical abuse by a fellow student.

The parents sued teacher Amanda Lute, Assistant Principal Cynthia Skaff, and Principal Ralph Schade, alleging that they failed to take sufficient steps after being informed of the problem.