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Sunday, April 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Teacher of the Year

CINCINNATI (CN) - Two weeks after his brother died, an elementary schoolteacher humiliated a sixth-grader by putting his hair into pigtails and parading him through other classrooms, calling him by a girl's name, the boy's mother says. She adds that "all teachers" at the school were informed about his brother's death.

The sixth-grader, identified in the federal complaint only a J.A., and his mother sued the Milford School District, the boy's English teacher and her aide, and school administrators.

The mother says Tori Bothe, the only sixth-grade language arts teacher at Boyd E. Smith Elementary School, knew that the younger sibling of J.A. died two weeks before the incident that gave rise to this complaint, and J.A. was with his sibling when he died."

The mom says that Bothe and her teacher's aide, [first name unknown] Boyes, "have teased him about the length of his hair and threatened to cut it."

On Sept. 29, 2009, the mom says, Bothe asked her son to deliver a message to a kindergarten teacher. While J.A. was doing that, "Bothe informed the class that she was going to play a prank on J.A.," according to the complaint.

Then, the mother alleges "(t)hat Defendant Bothe proceeded to grab J.A.'s hair and put three ponytails in it, with one above each ear and one at the top of his head with three separate bands.

"That Defendant Bothe then introduced J.A. to the language arts class as a new student with a female name, and the students in the class laughed at him.

"That Defendant Boyes proceeded to walk J.A. into the hallway and lead him to other sixth grade classrooms to show his hair with ponytails to his peers.

"That J.A. attempted to remove one of the ponytails and Defendant Boyes instructed him to leave them in his hair.

"That J.A. walked into each of the other sixth grade classrooms because he felt that he was obligated to due so Defendants' instructions.

"That after J.A. was forced to show his classmates his ponytails, the majority of his classmates called him 'girl,' 'pigtails,' and 'ponytails.'

"That being forced to show his peers his hair with ponytails caused J.A. extreme humiliation, embarrassment, and emotional distress.

"That hearing the news from J.A. about his experience in school caused Plaintiff Amanda Anoai extreme emotional distress.

"That J.A. had severe trouble sleeping after the above mentioned humiliation and did not want to return to Boyd E. Smith Elementary after the incident.

"That Plaintiff immediately contacted Defendants [Superintendent Robert] Farrell and [Principal Jill] Chin to make them aware of the situation, and that Defendants took no corrective action or minimal action.

"That J.A. is still forced to have contact with Defendants Bothe and Boyes, because Defendant Bothe is the only language arts teacher for the sixth grade at his school.

"That as a direct and proximate cause of Defendants' acts and omissions Plaintiffs suffered embarrassment, humiliation, intimidation, breach of trust, anxiety, and pain and suffering in an amount to be proven at trial."

The mom and J.A. seek damages for constitutional violations, assault and battery, negligence and emotional distress.

They are represented by Chester T. Lester Jr. and Eric C. Deters, of Independence, Ky.

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