SA man files lawsuit, claims son was victim of cyberbullying
Lawsuit is first filed in Texas under David's Law
SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio man who claims his son was a victim of cyberbullying has filed a lawsuit against the bullies and their parents.
The lawsuit filed by Derek Rothschild is believed to be the first case under David's Law. The law was named after David Molak, an Alamo Heights teen who committed suicide in 2016 after being cyberbullied.
The alleged bullies in the lawsuit are several unnamed students at Tex Hill Middle School in the Northeast Independent School District, the lawsuit said. Rothschild is seeking $50,000 damages and attorney fees.
Rothschild said in January, a group of students started an online discussion about "who would be most likely to shoot up the school" and identified his son as a likely school shooter.
"This caused the entire student body to ostracize (Rothschild's son), and subjected him to searches and interrogation by school staff, and ridicule by other students. At no time did (Rothschild's son) have any plans, intent, or desire to hurt anyone. The rumors were mean spirited, wholly false, and intended to hurt (Rothschild's son)," said Justin Nichols, Rothschild's attorney.
School administrators sent an email to parents after the online discussion took place.
"They (school administrators) had sent an email saying they knew this wasn't a credible threat, that it was just a bunch of rumors, but they searched him (Rothschild's son) and searched the whole school
and brought the extra security anyway," Rothschild said. "I expressed that morning that this was really bullying, and I felt like the only person in danger at school that day was my son."
The lawsuit does not name North East Independent School District, but "a lawsuit is anticipated after Mr. Rothschild goes through the district's grievance process," Nichols said.
"Our position is that the district did not follow its own policy," Nichols said. "It did not conduct an investigation. It did not reduce the investigation into a written report. It did not offer counseling resources to the victim for bullying. It seems, from our perspective, that they simply forgot about David's Law and, hopefully, this will remind them."
Rothschild said that, after the email was sent, his son was joking with his friends and made a statement for which he would have been sent to an alternative school, but Rothschild removed his son from the district before that could happen.
While NEISD would not comment on the lawsuit, administrators said in a statement Monday, "The District's administrators acted appropriately to investigate the situation, and took appropriate actions to address it. The District made it clear at the beginning of the school year that all threats against schools would be subject to disciplinary action."
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