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Tuesday, May 21, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

‘That’s the Picture I Want’

BALTIMORE (CN) - An elementary school student fed up with being bullied hung himself in his classroom, and his teacher took pictures of him as he was "gasping for air," saying, "Now that's the picture I want," the student and his grandmother claim in City Court.

The boy and his grandmother, Renola Dower, sued the Baltimore City Public School System, Leith Walk Elementary School and "Ms. Stinger," who allegedly helped him down only after taking several pictures of him with her cell phone.

The student says he complained about the bullying to Ms. Stinger, his "special needs" teacher, but she ignored his pleas. Upset at the bullying and at being ignored, the boy says he told Stinger "that he was going to hurt himself."

The boy says he "proceeded to the front of the class, stood on a chair, hung a vest on the hook of the door and tied the other end of the vest around his neck. Plaintiff then kicked the chair from under his feet and dangled in the air from the coat hook in front of the class. Defendant Ms. Stinger grabbed her phone and began taking pictures of plaintiff ... while he was hanging in front of the class."

The complaint continues: "Plaintiff ... started gasping for air. After defendant Ms. Stinger stated, 'Now that's the picture I want,' she decided to place the chair back under plaintiff('s) ... feet and stop him from hanging on the coat hook."

The boy, who says he suffers from asthma and ADHD and was off his medicine at the time, says Stinger "was well aware that he did not have any medication in his system because he was in the process of being prescribed different medication."

His grandmother says she was called to the school "where she was shown a picture of [her grandson] hanging from his coat."

Dower says her grandson suffered a bruised neck, as well as psychological damage, pain and suffering and depression.

They seek $10 million for each of seven counts of negligence.

They are represented by Karl Gauvin.

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