School district denies allegations in student bullying lawsuit

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind.--Penn Harris Madison School Corporation on Thursday submitted a response to a lawsuit filed by the family of a Discovery Middle School student.

The lawsuit, filed in September, alleges that PHM failed to keep the 14-year-old student safe. The suit is related to a fight in the school bathroom that was recorded on video and shared on social media.

According to court documents, the family is suing the district for alleged negligence and invasion of privacy (false light). The family is seeking attorney’s fees, costs of lawsuit and just and proper relief.

The response submitted Thursday on behalf of the school district denies the allegations of negligence and invasion of privacy.

PHM denies that it is liable to the family and denies the family’s entitlement to the requested relief, court documents said.

Donald J. Schmid, the lawyer for the family suing PHM, released the following statement on Friday:

"The family is moving ahead with its lawsuit and recently obtained records from the St. Joseph County Police Department that will help prove the negligence of school and PHM officials in the handling  of the bullying and attacks that occurred in March and April 2019.  The family is awaiting formal production of documents and records from PHM to help prove PHM's gross negligence in its handling of the bullying and violence at Discovery Middle School."

PHM said that it does not comment on pending litigation. 

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