Montclair family files tort claim against school district over bullying allegations

After enduring years of alleged bullying, the family of one Montclair teenager has filed a tort claim against the Montclair School District.

News 12 Staff

Jul 25, 2020, 2:26 AM

Updated 1,359 days ago

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After enduring years of alleged bullying, the family of one Montclair teenager has filed a tort claim against the Montclair School District.
Outdoing and kind are two words Natalie Hackett uses to describe her 13-year-old daughter Megan. But in a chat group, she says that Megan’s peers have called her, “burnt toast, tar baby, blackie, sharpie, darkie.”
Hackett says that her daughter has been bullied since becoming a student at Buzz Aldrin Middle School two years ago. In March 2019, Hackett says that Megan was attacked by a group of boys on the playground.
“They were hitting her, they were stepping on her. They were stepping in mud and stepping on her brand-new sneakers,” says Hackett.
Hackett says that Megan began to have nightmares and anxiety attacks. Hackett, a school principal herself in a nearby school district, says that the Montclair district needed to do more.
“I sent the school district more than 200 emails telling them about various incidences, more than 50 incidents, and they were ignoring my complaints,” Hackett says.
The family filed a tort claim against the Montclair School District this month, alleging that the district was negligent and failed to protect Megan after she was victimized and abused.
“Let Megan know that adults can make a difference,” says family attorney Jeffrey R. Youngman. “The school’s refusal and failure or inability to deal with it seriously is so egregious that it’s just apparent to me, right out of the box, that this is a claim that is worth of being aired.”
The Montclair Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Jonathan Pond tells News 12 New Jersey, "I assure you that Montclair Public Schools investigates all incidents or allegations of harassments, intimidation and bullying...The safety and welfare of our students is of utmost importance."
Youngman says that the district has six months to respond. If it denies or disregards the claim, Youngman says that the family plans to sue.
 


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