Jury awards $1 million in bullying case

In the bullying trial regarding Anthony Motta Jr. and his claim that Eldred School officials did not do enough to protect him from bullies when he attended high school, the six-member jury found unanimously for the plaintiff and his family, and awarded him with $1 million in compensation.
 
Jury members said after their verdict that one big factor in their decision was Eldred High School Principal Scott Kreb's vagueness while giving testimony. Jury foreperson Jodi Taylor said the fact another person who had been bullied in Eldred High School came forward to testify when she found out about the trial without the Mottas seeking them out was also a big factor for the jurors. She also said it was obvious that although the school put up workshops and programs about bullying, there was no follow through when problems arose. 
 
Motta family said they hoped something would be done now in schools to stop bullying. Anthony explained he feels better now the school is going to be held accountable when situations arise with students. "Children should feel safe at school," he said.
 
Press release from Eldred Central School District:
 
We are very disappointed in the decision. Our legal team and insurance company are evaluating the outcome to determine if an appeal will be filed. All of Eldred Central School District’s faculty and staff have always been and will continue to be committed to providing a safe environment for students, protecting students' rights, and complying with state laws.
 
Our staff are attentive, watchful, and supportive, and I can assure you that any report of bullying is taken very seriously and is thoroughly investigated. The District provides
training to staff, and students participate in numerous programs designed to prevent bullying and promote civility and acceptance. Many supports are also in place for students experiencing any difficulties, including the availability of guidance counselors, school psychologists, and a social worker.
 
We will continue our efforts to teach children compassion, kindness, and responsibility, and to raise awareness of the negative consequences of bullying. We will continue to be
vigilant and address instances of bullying when witnessed or reported, and we will continue to do our best to ensure our schools are safe and welcoming places for alstudents.
 
To this end, Dr. John Morgano, our Interim Superintendent of Schools, will conduct a comprehensive review of policy and procedures for reporting of bullying incidents, as
well as complete a thorough evaluation of current training provided to faculty, staff, and students and will offer recommendations for improvements, as necessary

 

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