Mom Sues H.S. Bullies & Twitter
TULSA, Okla. (CN) - After high school bullies posted a photo of a girl in her underwear on Twitter, an assistant principal told her mom not to complain because it would "make the school look bad," the girl's mother claims in court.
The girl's mom, DeAnn Cooks, sued Tulsa Independent School District No. 1, her daughter's fellow minor students A.W. and M.G., their John and Jane Doe parents, and Twitter, in Tulsa County Court.
"On or about November 23, 2011, S.C. was changing from her basketball uniform into her street clothes after a basketball game in Sand Springs, Oklahoma," the complaint states.
"While doing so, M.G., another member of the Booker T. Washington girls basketball team, grabbed S.C. and physically restrained her so defendant A.W. could take pictures of the underwear S.C. was wearing.
"S.C. protested and pleaded with these girls to stop, yet they continued to restrain her so as to photograph S.C. in her underwear.
"The next day, plaintiff called the coach of the girls' basketball team to complain about the traumatic incident. The coach informed plaintiff he would 'handle the issue.'
"However, to plaintiff and S.C.'s dismay, the picture of S.C. in her underwear was almost immediately posted on www.twitter.com."
The mom says the photo was re-tweeted, and stayed on Twitter for weeks, until most of the school's students had seen it.
"As a result, numerous members of the Booker T. Washington student body proceeded to bully and taunt S.C. at school," the complaint states.
"S.C. was ostracized by her peers, undergoing extensive bullying both during school hours and at home, and was even physically attacked by other students on school property.
"Plaintiff and S.C. complained of this treatment to Booker T. Washington officials, including the Booker T. Washington Dean of Students and an Assistant Principal at Booker T. Washington.
"The Dean of Students told plaintiff and S.C. that there was nothing the school could do about the verbal and physical assaults being committed upon S.C. because of this picture posted on Twitter.
"Plaintiff then contacted the Tulsa Public Schools administration looking for help, but was told by a Booker T. Washington Assistant Principal that she needed to drop her complaint because these incidents make the school look bad to the Tulsa Public Schools District administrators.
"Despite their continuous pleas for help, S.C. continued to undergo physical and verbal assaults throughout the 2011-2012 school year."
The girl and her mother seek punitive damages for negligence, negligent supervision, intentional infliction of emotional distress, assault, battery and invasion of privacy.
They are represented by Jack Beesley with Smolen, Smolen & Roytman in Tulsa.