State Commission: School did not do enough to prevent bullying

THE BRUNSWICK SCHOOL DISTRICT SHOULD HAVE DONE MORE TO PROTECT A STUDENT WHO SAYS HE WAS BULLIED, STABBED, AND SEXUALLY ASSAULTED AT SCHOOL. THAT IS ACCORDING TO A NEW RULING BY THE MAINE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION. WMTW NEWS EIGHT’S PAUL MERRILL IS LIVE IN STUDIO WITH OUR TOP STORY.. PAUL. COMMISSIONERS VOTED THIS MORNING THREE-TO-TWO IN FAVOR OF AN INVESTIGATOR’S REPORT. THAT REPORT SAYS THERE ARE REASONABLE GROUNDS TO BELIEVE THAT THE BRUNSWICK SCHOOL DEPARTMENT DISCRIMINATED AGAINST A STUDENT BASED ON HIS GENDER AND PERCEIVED SEXUAL ORIENTATION. THE TORMENTING ALLEGEDLY STARTED WHEN THE STUDENT WAS AN 11-YEAR-OLD SIXTH-GRADER AT BRUNSWICK JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL IN AUGUST OF 2010 AND CONTINUED FOR TWO YEARS. COURTNEY BEER REPRESENTS THE BOY, WHO IS NOW 15. 00:10:19-00:10:25 Courtney Beer/Complainant’s Lawyer: “His peers subjected him to physical assaults, name-calling, intimidation tactics, sexual touching, and – eventually – sexual assaults.” THE BOY’S ATTENDANCE, GRADES, AND HEALTH ALL BEGAN TO FAIL. BRUNSWICK SCHOOL OFFICIALS TOLD THE MAINE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION’S INVESTIGATOR THAT THEY LOOKED INTO EACH OF THE BOY’S COMPLAINS ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS. HERE’S WHAT THAT INVESTIGATOR WRITES ABOUT THE DISTRICT’S RESPONSE: “It had good policies in place. However, it did not do enough in this instance. Due to the number of incidents that occurred specifically to , it is sensible to think that should have honed in on that fact to see if there was a bigger issue instead of handling each incident on a case by case basis for more than two and a half years.” BRUNSWICK’S SUPERINTENDENT DIDN’T WANT TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ON CAMERA TODAY. PART OF A STATEMENT HE SENT US READS, “Contrary to the conclusion, Brunswick Junior High School took the complaints seriously and moved quickly and decisively to respond to complaints that were brought to the school’s attention. We also took measures and continue to take measures to combat bullying and harassment throughout the school.” 00:13:17- 00:13:29 Courtney Beer/Complainant’s Lawyer: “This was a totality-of-the-circum stances case and this child was experiencing abusive, extreme behavior for two years and the district needed to see the totality of the circumstances here and not each of these on a case-by-case basis.” THE BOY’S MOTHER SAYS SHE HAS MOVED OUT OF BRUNSWICK AND HER SON IS NOW ATTENDING SCHOOL ELSEWHERE. BRUNSWICK POLICE TELL US THEY CONDUCTED A LENGTHY INVESTIGATION OF THESE ALLEGATIONS AND BROUGHT THE RESULTS TO THE CUMBERLAND COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE, BUT NO CHARGES HAVE BEEN FILED. LIVE IN THE STUDIO, PAUL MERRILL, WMTW