HUDSON, Ohio - A lawsuit filed in Summit County on Tuesday claims the Hudson school district did not do enough to prevent repeated bullying of a student whose mother ultimately removed him from the schools, choosing to home school him instead.
Kelly Grandee says the bullying started on a bus when her son was in grade school.
"Riding the bus, a kid supposedly showed him a knife on the bus after pushing his head into a bus window and giving him a concussion."said Grandee.
Since then she says he has endured multiple concussions and fractures.
"Over the years he has had concussions, broken bones, bruised bones. He's had - just last year alone - he's had a concussion, two broken fingers and a broken arm," said Grandee.
Grandee says her son is not yet cleared from a concussion protocol because of one of the attacks when his arm was broken.
Reports were made to police and to the school district.
Grandee says she had a meeting with school representatives about her concerns, but shortly after that meeting, her son was pushed down a flight of steps.
"We thought in the beginning it would change because we had a meeting and they promised to keep him safe and to keep an eye on him and all that. But then once he entered middle school it just kept going," said Grandee.
The lawsuit names the school district, principals, counselors, school nurses, bus drivers and bus aides.
It claims: "The Defendant School Employees and the Defendant Parents failed to take any and/or sufficient appropriate measures to protect the Plaintiff Minor or to address the bullying, harassment or assaults..."
The suit concludes that failure to address the repeated complaints "constitutes negligent, reckless, willful and/or wanton conduct."
Grandee's attorney, Michael O'Shea, says while each school district in Ohio is required to have a policy addressing bullying and harassment, simply having a policy isn't enough.
He says the districts will defend themselves claiming 'sovereign immunity.'
"When it comes to schools having some sort of responsibility - financial - for failures the law right now as it currently exists requires us to prove more than just it was an accident," said O'Shea.
"All of those school districts will always claim that they are entitled to this thing called sovereign immunity which is a very polite 'so what' defense where they say you know, 'so what,' even if we made some mistakes here we are immune." said O'Shea.
But O'Shea says the law also makes parents financially responsible for the intentional actions of their own children up to $10,000 each.
O'Shea believes that among the best ways to address the problem with bullying is to make sure parents know that if they neglect complaints about their own children's behavior they will become more serious about addressing it if they are required to pay for damages.
The lawsuit also asks for injunctions to keep the parties named as defendants from having any contact with Grandee's son, concerned 'harassment and bullying of the plaintiff minor may actually continue and/or accelerate by the defendant students.'
In the meantime, Grandee says she removed her son from the school district and is home- schooling him, at his request, to avoid the repeated bullying.
"It's killing him because every time he goes to school he's not safe. I mean he has to go to school worrying about kids beating him up or pushing him down stairs or doing something and it's not right," said Grandee.