Yasmeen Khan is a reporter covering education. You can find her stories on the air and on SchoolBook.org, WNYC’s education website.
Injured Student Plans Lawsuit Against City for Bullying
Tuesday, June 19, 2012 - 09:36 PM
A middle school student plans to sue the city for $16 million, claiming that school employees failed to protect him from two other students in the school cafeteria who punched him repeatedly in the face.
The attack left Kardin Ulysse, an eighth grader at Junior High School Roy H. Mann in Brooklyn, blind in his right eye, his father said at a news conference on Tuesday.
Kardin and the father, Pierre J. Ulysse, filed a notice of claim with the city on Tuesday to protect their right to seek damages from the city's Department of Education for Kardin's injuries and medical expenses, along with a claim of earnings losses for Mr. Ulysse related to the matter.
"They were beating him, kicking him, punching him in the face many, many times," Mr. Ulysse said. "There is no guarantee he will see again."
He said Kardin has had two eye operations and needs a transplant.
The claim gives an account of the assault on the morning of June 5, and paints a picture of school staff members as "negligent" and "inept." The claim asserts that school employees "did nothing to stop or prevent" the assault and "failed to obtain proper emergency medical treatment."
When asked why Kardin was targeted for the bullying, the father said he didn't know other than they didn't like him and he was "a loner." He also said that this was not the first time his son had been beaten and bullied at the school, and that other students had suffered there from bullying.
A woman who answered the phone at Roy. H. Mann said that the principal, Jacek Polubiec, was not at the school on Tuesday and that the school had "no comment at this time."
Marge Feinberg, a spokeswoman for the Education Department, said the city had not received the notice of claim by Tuesday afternoon. But she added that education officials were taking the matter very seriously, along with the issue of bullying in general.
The principal reported the episode and the police were called, she said. The school also called Kardin's father, who accompanied his son to the hospital.
Ms. Feinberg said that the police arrested the two seventh graders accused of attacking Kardin and that the episode was under investigation.
Jorteh Senah contributed reporting.