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are schools liable for son's post traumatic stress disorder & continuing problems?

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Are schools liable for son's post traumatic stress disorder & continuing problems?

I'm not sure if this is the correct heading for my question, so please direct me to the correct one.

Our now 19 year old son has a speech disorder (he stutters). When bullied or made to feel insecure, his stuttering becomes severe and he oftentimes cannot get a word out at those times. In middle school his new classmates found this out and several students made a "game" of bullying him. Some of the things they did: verbally abused him, handcuffed him to a locker, stole his lunch money and calculators (repeatedly), and choked him. He did not tell anyone of the abuse, but became more and more reluctant to attend school and then refused to go altogether. Finally, at a meeting with his block leader, vice principal and police, he told about the abuse and after coercion, gave up names. The students' parents were contacted and they were suspended for a couple of days. This only made things worse.

After he finished that year of school (barely), we enrolled him in a private high school about 30 miles away. We were assured by the school officials that "this type of thing would never happen here" and that our son would feel safe at school. It was good for a short time -- again, until the students discovered his inability to react verbally when under stress.

A group of athletes became abusive. They verbally abused him in front of classmates, they spat at him, they stole his books and supplies, and one day they beat him so badly that he was vomitting blood. I was called to school to pick him up because he was "sick". He did not want to tell me what happened, but he told me of the attack and how badly things were going at school. We met with his counselor and the vice principal. We were assured that this would not happen again and the students involved would be dealt with. These star athletes were suspended from school for several days and were made to miss the weekend football game. I received a threatening phone call that evening from the mother of one of the boys because he wouldn't be playing in the football game and scouts were coming to see him play and I was ruining her son's career.

Of course, when the other students returned to school, everything escalated. My son refused to go to school, became despondent and suicidal. After more meetings at school, we decided to pull him from that school and he was homeschooled for the remainder of his high school. He is an intelligent, sensitive young man. He has been in therapy since the attacks in middle school. He has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, social phobia and depression. He is on medication. He is afraid to be in public and rarely leaves the house. He cannot attend college (though he has been accepted), he cannot hold a job, nor drive a car, as his fear is so debilitating. We work constantly with him and his therapist to help him, but there has not been much success.

Meanwhile, we watch our intelligent, wonderful son become a recluse and are coming to accept that he will probably never be able to function in the outside world -- that he will be living with us for the remainder of our lives and will need to provide for his care after we pass away. Because he cannot use the phone, go shopping or do other "normal" things, he is unable to take care of himself or his needs. He has no friends or outside contact with people, except through the internet.

Do you think we may have a case against either schools?

thank you -- sorry for the length of my explanation. We are in Wisconsin.

[Edited by jfitzger on 01-27-2001 at 02:05 PM]


Senior Member
My response:

Please help us to help you. It appears that your post is quite lengthy. Since we want to help you, it would be appreciated, and in your interest, if you could re-write your post to shorten its length.

Some suggestions would be to remove any extra words that do not go to the heart of your question and issues. Also, if you have any emotional or editorial type words or phrases, please remove those also. In other words, be your own worst critic, and stick to the facts.

Additionally, if you haven't already done so, please use paragraphs rather than running each sentence into the next. This, alone would make your post easier to read and understand.

Thank you for your kind cooperation, and I'm sure, after you've re-posted, someone will be with you shortly to assist you.


P.S. If you haven't mentioned your State name, or the State where your problem has occurred, please tell us in your first sentence.

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