A Kanawha County student received a settlement of about $27,500 from the Kanawha County Board of Education Friday in Kanawha Circuit Court after a bullying incident on a school bus left her with broken teeth.
In November 2017, the student was on her way to Ruthlawn Elementary, in Charleston, to participate in the Third Base after-school program. She was accompanied by two other students, the bus driver and the Third Base monitor.
According to the civil complaint, the girl had been sitting with her head against the back of the seat in front of her due to neck pain, when another student, who had a history of bullying her, attempted to lift her up by pulling on her backpack.
When that finally worked, the other student slammed the girl’s head into a bus window, causing the girl to lose part of her front two permanent teeth, the complaint alleges.
The student received only a five-day suspension from the Third Base bus, and, according to the complaint, the elementary school did nothing to protect the girl from further bullying.
Since then, according to Joseph Spano Jr., the family’s attorney, the girl has had to have dental work totaling $1,530 to fix her front teeth with repairs, including a root canal and application of crowns.
Followup visits to a local orthodontist have added even more costs for the family, according to Spano.
Her father said even with all of this, his daughter is feeling fine.
“She’s doing good, other than her teeth being a little messed up,” he said, adding that he thinks she’s made as much of a recovery as possible to date.
The girl’s father said he really never wanted the situation to escalate to the point of having to go to court.
“I didn’t want money out of this, I just wanted someone to say sorry, and I never got that,” he said.
The girl will receive $18,740 from the settlement that will be placed into a secure account she will be able to access once she turns 18.