Kime Mitchell and Texas Civil Rights Project Director Jim Harrington
Updated: Thursday, 30 Jul 2009, 11:33 AM CDT
Published : Wednesday, 29 Jul 2009, 10:49 AM CDT
GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) - A Georgetown mom is filing a federal lawsuit against the Georgetown Independent School District for refusing to act to protect her child from sexual harassment by his peers.
The mom, Kime Mitchell, wants to prevent future sexual harassment.
"I complained time and time again," Mitchell said. "Nothing ever got done."
Mitchell claims her 15-year-old son has been physically and emotionally attacked for years and GISD has ignored her requests for help.
"Kime Mitchell's son endured almost six years of harassment and bullying by fellow students, including relentless name-calling and physical attacks while he attended schools in Georgetown Independent School District," said James Harrington, with the Texas Civil Rights Project.
Superintendent Abbe Boring said the district had been informed of the lawsuit through the media. While Boring said she would not comment on specific litigation, she did emphasize that the district has a number of policies that deal with the harassment of students.
"The Board has in place – and enforces – numerous policies that prohibit such behavior by students and employees of the District," Boring wrote. "These policies provide opportunities to report such behavior and prohibit retaliation against anyone making or assisting in such reports. On the rare occasions when such reports arise, the District immediately takes all steps necessary to respond appropriately."
"I don't think my bill would have helped in this case," said Strama. "That is if the allegations are true."
That is because the lawsuit claims the school district knew about the bullying and chose not to act.
"My bill gave administrators the authority to act," said Strama. "We need changes in state law to ensure children are safe in school."
However, the bill never made it out of the House. It dealt with both cyberbullying and parents' right to move children between school districts to avoid bullies, or to transfer bullies to another classroom at the request of the victim’s parents.
Mitchell is suing for injuctive, declaratory, and monetary relief, as well as costs and attorneys' fees.
Below is the full statement from Superintendent Abbe Boring:
The District has been asked to make a public comment concerning
the possibility that a lawsuit will be brought against Georgetown
ISD. At this time, we have not been provided a copy of any lawsuit,
so we cannot comment on any specifics. Should there be litigation,
we will be unable to publicly discuss certain aspects of such a
Through the media, we have been informed that an attorney for the parent of a district student has alleged that there has been unaddressed harassment and bullying in our schools. While federal and state law prohibit the District from commenting on the particulars of any student, we feel it is important that the community know that the Georgetown Independent School District takes all allegations of harassment and bullying very seriously. The Board has in place – and enforces – numerous policies that prohibit such behavior by students and employees of the District. These policies provide opportunities to report such behavior and prohibit retaliation against anyone making or assisting in such reports. On the rare occasions when such reports arise, the District immediately takes all steps necessary to respond appropriately.
Understanding that student and staff safety is a priority for our district and our community, we have been, and will continue to be, proactive in our efforts to make sure that our schools are safe, secure, and free from harassment. As part of our commitment to ensure safe schools and fair treatment of all students, Georgetown ISD has anti-bullying and anti-harassment programs in place at every Georgetown Independent School District campus. One of these programs is the Anti-Defamation League’s No Place for Hate® program, which was adopted at Georgetown High School. The ADL describes this as “a program that enables people to challenge anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia, and all forms of bigotry in their communities and schools. It seeks to provide a model for responding to and preventing acts of hatred and for developing projects that enhance an appreciation for diversity and foster harmony.” The district also has adopted the Olweus Bullying program for middle schools and our Ninth Grade Center.
All schools address bullying through our counseling and
character education programs. We will continue to be proactive in
As educators and parents, we understand the concern of any parent when it comes to safety. Further, we understand that we are the protectors and defenders of the rights of all children and that it is our duty to keep safe and educate each child who enters the doors of our schools. We take those duties seriously and will continue to do so.