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School Blamed for Videotaped Beating

PHOENIX (CN) - A Phoenix school district allowed a teenager to be bullied for years, culminating in an attack that a classmate videotaped, the young woman claims in court.

Sarah Hanz, 18, sued Deer Valley Unified School District No. 97, Deer Valley High School, Brenda Cabrera, and Alfonso Cabrera on Nov. 7 in Maricopa County Court.

She seeks damages for assault, battery, gross negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Hanz claims she was bullied from 2008 through 2013 while she was a Deer Valley student, and that the bullying escalated over the years as the school district failed to take action.

When Hanz tried to retaliate against the bullies, she got in trouble and it did not stop the bullying, she says.

"Due to the bullying, Sarah Hanz became more aggressive, and performed poorly in school," the complaint states. "She made 'friends' with students that were a bad influence on her in hopes of being protected."

In April 2013, Hanz says, Brenda Cabrera grabbed her from behind by a school bus, punched her in the face, pulled her hair, and hit her in the head repeatedly while another student videotaped the assault.

Hanz says she "began to experience nausea and vomiting shortly after the beating and has had chronic headaches ever since. She has been diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome, traumatic brain injury, and chronic migraines. She has also suffered emotionally and has been receiving counseling."

Hanz claims her parents got a restraining order against Cabrera after the assault, and that the district was notified of the order but failed to enforce it, allowing Cabrera to taunt and intimidate Hanz.

Then, Hanz says, she began acting out and was expelled from school.

Her mother has tried to obtain records of the bullying Sarah suffered, but many have been purged, according to the lawsuit.

Deer Valley Unified School District was sued in 2012 by parents of a 7-year-old boy who allegedly was placed in a " seclusion room " for five months after the district allowed him to eat foods that caused behavioral issues.

Hanz is represented by Lori Kirsch-Goodwin and Hope Kirsch of Scottsdale.

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