GALVESTON, Texas – The mother of a former seventh-grade student at Trinity Episcopal School Galveston has filed a lawsuit against the school, the head of the school and three of her son's former classmates.
Trinity Episcopal School Galveston is a largely white school with tuition just over $9,000 per year, according to court documents.
The lawsuit states an African-American student was bullied, harassed and racially discriminated while he attended the school from 2014-2016. The lawsuit also says the student suffered the harassment from classmates while attending Trinity and also says the school is responsible due to its "lack of corrective action and indifference to the bullying and racial discrimination" the student endured.
The student's mother enrolled her son in the Trinity sixth-grade class in 2014, but was forced to remove him on April 19, 2016 after the student was no longer able to endure the bullying, harassment and racial discrimination by three students in particular, according to court documents.
The three students made "KKK origami" resembling the hoods worn by Ku Klux Klan members, verbally abused the student with "KKK beats," stated that their fathers were "dragon masters of the KKK" and bullied the student to the point that he no longer felt safe and comfortable to attend Trinity, court documents read.
The mother of the bullied student notified the head of the school, according to court documents. The head of the school told the mother that the three students admitted to bullying the African-American student, according to court documents. The students' punishment was a letter of apology and a one-day suspension for one of the students responsible for the bullying, according to court documents.
The student who was bullied suffered from mental issues culminating in a breakdown on May 2, 2016, when he spray-painted the word "hate" on the walls and furniture of his own home, according to court documents.
The student also became depressed, suffers from anxiety attacks, trauma, panic attacks and even has suicidal thoughts, according to court records.
The lawsuit alleges negligence against the school, negligence against the head of the school and the students and the parents of the students responsible for the bullying and gross negligence against Trinity Episcopal School, court documents read.
The suit also requests damages for medical expenses, mental anguish, loss of use and enjoyment of life and exemplary damages, according to court documents.
The suit seeks damages in excess of $1 million to not only compensate the victims, but to deter the type of behavior that was exhibited.
Here is a statement from the school:
"Trinity Episcopal School Galveston is saddened by the lawsuit that has been filed by the mother of a former 7th grade student against the school, its head, and three of her son's former classmates.
"The school has policy that prohibits any form of bullying or discrimination. As soon as the school was informed of an issue over a year ago, it addressed it immediately, consistent with its policy. The mother withdrew her child from the school four days later.
"Trinity Episcopal School values diversity and is committed to upholding standards that reflect our mission in Christ. Because this dispute involves children, we will have no further comment on the litigation."