May 21, 2012

Student Bullied at the Elite King’s Academy in West Palm Beach Sues Attackers, and School For Failing to Protect Him

West Palm Beach, Fla. – The family of an eighth-grade student at The King’s Academy has filed suit against the elite private school and two fellow students and their parents after the student was physically bullied numerous times on campus, and the school failed to protect the student or discipline the perpetrators.

The victim, who is a minor, and an excellent student, was bullied and assaulted two times in February in attacks that were unprovoked. The first time, he was punched in the groin. The second time, he was kneed in the groin, and sustained serious injury to his genitals. Since complaining of the attacks, he has been the subject of ridicule by classmates and retaliation by faculty.

In both instances, school administrators at the West Palm Beach Christian school were alerted to the assault and promised “swift and appropriate action to prevent future incidents,” according to the complaint, filed by attorney Steven Osber, a partner with Kelley Kronenberg in Fort Lauderdale. No such action was every taken, said Osber. The complaint, filed with the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit in Palm Beach County, alleges negligence against the school and battery against the defendants, who are all minors.

“The victim was assaulted twice, resulting in excruciating pain, two emergency room hospital visits and blood in his urine from both attacks. School administrators never followed through on their promised consequences and their obligation to protect their students,” said Osber. “For a school that claims in its marketing materials to be guided by Christian principles and boasts a ‘zero tolerance for bullying,’ King’s wantonly disregarded the very principles and statements upon which it claims its mission and policies are based.”

Osber said the school turned a blind eye, and jeopardized his client’s safety because the parents of one of the bullies are big contributors to the school.

“The King’s Academy simply chose to ignore significant warning signs of future harm in exchange for financial gain,” said Osber. “Simply put, greed outweighed the concerns of students. It will be telling to learn how much money the school received in donations in exchange for allowing this ticking time bomb to walk through the school. I can only imagine how other parents would feel when they learn the school values cash over student safety.”

Under Florida law, The King’s Academy had a legal duty to act as the victim’s stand-in parent and protect him while he was on campus. The school breached its duty by failing to adequately supervise the students while on school property; treating the defendants favorably with little or no discipline for their transgressions, particularly violent acts; failing to prevent harassment and bullying of students; and failing to provide sufficient security to its students to prevent against such attacks, according to the suit