Family of black 6th grader who suffered horrendous rope burns on her neck ‘inflicted by white classmates on purpose’ sue their private school for $3 million
12-year-old Waco girl on a school trip with Live Oak Classical School came home with injuries to her neck.
Class of 22 sixth-graders had been playing with a rope swing when a rope ended up around girl’s neck. ‘3 white boys were standing behind her holding the rope when incident occurred’
Girl is one of just four black children at the predominantly white school
Girl’s mother was not informed she was injured until after the trip, believes the attack was racially motivated and is suing for $3m
The lawsuit was filed in Travis County against Live Oak Classical School and Lawrence Germer, the owner of the ranch where the sixth-graders went on a school trip.
Sandy Rougely, the girl’s mother, has claimed her daughter was racially attacked and her daughter thinks that three white boys tied the rope around her neck on purpose.
“It looked like somebody had ripped her neck apart and stitched it back together,” the girl’s mother, Sandy Rougely, said in an exclusive interview with The Dallas Morning News last month at their Waco apartment, across town from Baylor University.
Mother Sandy Rougely claimed her daughter was the victim of racially-motivated attack on a school trip after returning with rope burns (pictured) around her neck
“We all know anybody can allege anything in a lawsuit. That doesn’t make it true,” Deaconson said. “We also need to keep in mind we’ve got 12-year-old kids involved, and adults need to react in a way that doesn’t put the 12-year-olds’ safety at risk, which many of them already have.”
Live Oak Classical School said in a previous statement that the girl’s injuries were “caused accidentally” while the students — eight girls and 14 boys — were playing with a rope swing attached to a tree. The girl was one of two black students on the trip.
Reports will not identifying the injured child or any of her classmates on the trip. The lawsuit seeks more than $3 million in damages to “not only compensate the victims in this case, but to deter this type of egregious conduct from others in the future, and to serve as an example to all educational institutions that this type of behavior is unacceptable with regard to both the treatment of children and their parents,” court records show.
The girl told The News that none of the adult chaperones saw the incident. She believes that three white boys who she and her mother said bullied her during the school year purposely hurt her. Rougely said she contacted the school several times about bullying, but the problem only got worse.
he rope should have fallen to the ground if the kids had simply let go of it, the girl said. She had her back to the boys and didn’t see anything, then felt the rope around her neck. The force knocked her down.
“That’s why I think it was on purpose,” she said. “I think someone tried to tie it around my neck.”
But the parents’ attorneys, Levi McCathern and T.J. Jones, said that if no one else saw the incident, how could they be eyewitnesses.
The 12-year-old had stopped to watch when she suddenly felt the rope going around her neck from behind, before it pulled against her and dragged across the ground.
The girl – who is one of just four black children at the $7,000-a-year private school – said the boys had hold of the rope but it fell to the ground when they let go of it.
‘That’s why I think it was on purpose,’ the girl said. ‘I think someone tried to tie it around my neck.’
She asked the boys whether they did it on purpose but they denied doing so.
The school’s attorney, David Deaconson, said that the school will ‘stand behind the facts’ and that the girl’s injuries were an ‘unfortunate accident,’ not the result of bullying.
‘We all know anybody can allege anything in a lawsuit. That doesn’t make it true,’ Deaconson said to the Dallas Morning News.
‘We also need to keep in mind we’ve got 12-year-old kids involved, and adults need to react in a way that doesn’t put the 12-year-olds’ safety at risk, which many of them already have.’ Theat’s the basis on which we reached our conclusion.
The swing that the sixth-graders were playing on when the rope burn occurred
The lawsuit seeks more than $3 million in damages to ‘not only compensate the victims in this case, but to deter this type of egregious conduct from others in the future, and to serve as an example to all educational institutions that this type of behavior is unacceptable with regard to both the treatment of children and their parents,’ court records show
Photographs of the girl’s injuries show that the rope cut into her skin across the front of her neck and halfway around her back.
“I don’t know how you can look at her neck, at the pictures and think this was anything but intentional,” Jones said. He said that even if it was an accident, the way the school handled the situation was “beyond poor.”
None of the chaperones called the child’s mother about the injury, and none of the adults saw the children as they played on the swing or the incident, the girl and her mother said. One of the parents, a doctor, examined her neck. The staff covered it in Vaseline and gave her ibuprofen, the girl said.
Rougely said she didn’t know about the injury until her daughter walked off the bus the following night in the school parking lot. From afar, she thought the girl was wearing a necklace.
Rougely immediately removed her daughter from the school for the remainder of the school year.