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Three different families sue EBR school system, claiming district turned blind eye to bullying

3 months 9 hours 38 minutes ago Monday, July 26 2021 Jul 26, 2021 July 26, 2021 5:35 PM July 26, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - Three different families are suing the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, alleging the school district received complaints of relentless bullying but did nothing.

Two students were beaten on camera, a third took his own life.

Traeh Thyssen killed himself in 2019 after his family said he was the target of bullies at Westdale. His mother says she had filed four formal complaints with the school district prior to Thyssen killing himself.

His family sued in 2019, and late Monday afternoon their attorney filed to have the courts rule in their favor after the school system did not respond to the lawsuit. The family is seeking more than $2 million.

Another family said their child was attacked a month after Thyssen killed himself at the same school. A third family is also suing the school system claiming their special needs child was the target of bullies.

"There should have been training not only for staff but students," said Ryan Thompson, the attorney representing all three families. "Orientation, at minimum, to tell people what bullying looks like and how to intervene and stop bullying."

Two of the incidents after Thyssen's death were captured on video.

"All the cases that I'm involved in, there was notice," Thompson said. "Louisiana law requires notice when you talk about these suits."

All three of them allege the EBR school system didn't do enough to protect the students from bullying, even after their parents complained. EBR school leaders said Monday they could not comment due to the pending litigation.

As we were working on this story, the communications director told us to leave the public parking lot. She said she was instructed to deliver that message from the lead attorney.

"I came out to deliver the message from general counsel," Letrece Griffin said.

The area that the WBRZ Investigative Unit was filming on was not a private area, and there has never been a rule that we can't film there.

"When kids are placed in your care, custody and control, you have a duty to protect them," Thompson said. "When you don't do that you fail those children and the taxpayers that put trust in you."

Following this story airing, the chief of communications for East Baton Rouge contacted WBRZ and clarified that the media and public are always welcome at the school board office building. 

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