Tuesday, Oct. 16 2012 5:11PM
Blue Springs bullying case settled for $500,000
Lawsuit alleged that the Blue Springs district was negligent in 12-year-old student’s suicide
By Mark Morris and Brian Burnes
Kansas City Star
An insurance carrier for the Blue Springs School District paid $500,000 to settle a lawsuit that alleged a 12-year-old student committed suicide after being targeted by bullies.
Parts of Lee’s Summit, including the northern end of the city and the Lakewood area, are located within the Blue Springs School District.
The district told KCTV-5, The Kansas City Star’s reporting partner, Oct. 12 that the insurance company controlled the settlement.
Lawyers declined to disclose the agreement’s financial terms when they announced the settlement on Oct. 3.
Brandon Myers, who was 12, hanged himself in his home on Feb. 22, 2007. In the suit, his parents, Kimberly and Randy Myers, alleged that he had been the victim of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of fellow Blue Springs district students and that the district had been negligent in its training and supervision of employees.
In the lawsuit, Kimberly and Randy Myers alleged that their son over several years had been the victim of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of fellow Blue Springs district students. Brandon, born with a cleft palate, underwent several surgeries to correct the condition, according to a statement Oct. 3 by Humphrey, Farrington & McClain, the Independence law firm that represented the Myers family.
Students bullied Brandon at both John Nowlin and Voy Spears Jr. elementary schools, his parents alleged. On one occasion, they claimed, students held Brandon down and stuffed grass into his surgically repaired lip.
The district has agreed to institute an annual bullying awareness day.
The settlement also mandated that the parent of one student write a letter of apology to Kimberly and Randy Myers, according to the statement. The lawsuit had alleged that parent condoned and encouraged his son’s bullying behavior and, about two weeks before Brandon’s suicide, drove to Brandon’s home and participated in vandalism there.
Also, the settlement directs that two district administrators undergo additional off-site bullying awareness training, said Daniel Thomas, an attorney with Humphrey, Farrington & McClain.
“The significance of this case is that most of the bullying-suicide lawsuits don’t make it through all the procedural loopholes to take it to trial,” Thomas said Oct. 3. “We were able to take this case all the way to the doorstep of the courthouse and really effect some changes.”
A trial had been scheduled to begin Sept. 17 in U.S. District Court. But the parties agreed on the settlement on Sept. 14, and a federal court judge approved it less than a month later.