ST.PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A St. Petersburg family is suing Admiral Farragut Academy in a case that claims severe bullying.
“In this incident, we’re talking about both mental and physical bullying,” said Attorney Marc Matthews who is representing the family.
Sophi Dottin’s daughter and son were both enrolled at Admiral Farragut last year. The family had been awarded scholarships so their children could attend the private school
Dottin says soon after getting to the school, her daughter became the victim of a bully.
“At first it started out as just racial slurs. He started threatening her and her friends saying things like he was going to pull their weave out, saying the “N” word,” said Dottin.
Attorney Matthews says the school did not stop the bullying “As far as we can tell, based on our investigation, there is a pattern of bullying at this school and there is a pattern of the school looking the other way. They’re willing to look the other way based on their skin color or the size of their bank account,” said Matthews.
Dottin says the bullying didn’t stop, she says it just got worse.
“It got to the point where he ultimately put his hands on her,” said Dottin.
Dottin says the bully shoved her daughter to the ground on the playground so hard that she had to be taken to the hospital with a head injury.
Matthews says the school has a zero-tolerance policy for bullying, but in this case, they did not enforce it.
“Students going to school on a scholarship, because they might not otherwise be able to afford to go to this school, shouldn’t have to sacrifice their dignity, they shouldn’t have to sacrifice their self-respect, they shouldn’t have to worry about being bullied just so they can get an education that they might not otherwise been able to get,” said Matthews.
A spokesperson for the school issued a statement.
“Admiral Farragut Academy takes all allegations seriously and has the best interest of our students and families in mind. Allegations concerning this incident were investigated and determined unsubstantiated. We can not comment further on pending litigation.”
Dottin has now taken both of her children out of the school.
Marc Matthews says he believes other children may be involved and he would like families to contact him at Marc.Matthews@FLtrials.com