Two Lawsuits filed Against Hamilton Department of Education for Bullying

Posted On: May 30, 2014 under

The first case: David Cameron Nixon

Cameron Nixon was a 7th grade student at Signal Mountain Middle School where he played football. In September 2013, the football team was eating at the school cafeteria after school. Cameron was on crutches at the time because of foot injury that happened at home. Cameron was involved in some good-natured food play with his friends. Then Cameron left the cafeteria to go the bathroom. At that time, another student grabbed Cameron from behind, taking hold of his backpack and throwing him headlong into a concrete block wall. Cameron was knocked unconscious by the attack. No coaches or teachers were anywhere near the children during the attack.

After the attack, the coaches took Cameron into an office and called his parents and told them Cameron was not feeling well and needed to be picked up. They did not mention the attack or Cameron’s being knocked unconscious. They did not seek medical attention for Cameron or mention calling an ambulance or the need to take Cameron to a hospital.

Cameron suffered a brain injury from the attack and continues to suffer from devastating headaches, light sensitivity, memory loss, and impaired cognitive functions. Cameron was never able to return to school. He was not even able to begin home-bound studies for more than 5 months, under doctor’s strict restrictions.

Perhaps most disturbingly, before the attack on Cameron, at least two other incidents of violence between students had occurred at Signal Mountain Middle School under the supervision of the football coaches in the few weeks of school. Not only did the coaches fail to address the lack of supervision, they also tried to conceal the attack on Cameron and offered practically no aid – being worried more about the implications to themselves than to the health of this child and the other children in their care. Unfortunately, Cameron’s family has been forced to resort to the court system to seek help for their son.

The second case: Taylor Zukowski

Taylor Zukowski was a student at the Center for Creative Arts on Dallas Road. While there, he was the subject of continued harassment and bullying from a group of fellow students. The bullies mercilessly touched Taylor in offensive sexual ways, frequently hit and assaulted him, and habitually heaped verbal abuse on him. This conduct went on for months.

Taylor and his parents repeatedly complained to the teachers, the principal, and other school officials. Additionally, a teacher exhorted the school to take corrective action. The department of education refused to take steps to correct the abuse or to protect Taylor in any way.

Because of the abuse, Taylor has suffered severe depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder. Under doctor’s instructions, Taylor spent the majority of his 8th grade year in the homebound program. This prevented Taylor from all social interaction and extracurricular activities. The bullies continue unabated as far we can tell.

This lawsuit is designed to force our school system to take accountability for the safety of our children. Bullying is a national problem that seems rampant here in Hamilton County. Unfortunately, our administrators seem unwilling to take corrective action to stop bullying even in the most egregious cases.

Both of these lawsuits are symptomatic of an epidemic in our schools around this country. As recent news events have shown, this type of bullying leads to random and senseless violence. Our school administrators need to take these events seriously. They are in the best position to prevent devastation to innocent children, their families, and loved ones. Hopefully, bringing these incidents into the public light will bring encourage solutions to these dangerous problems.