Jury awards $68K to black student injured after white classmates wrapped rope around her neck

Jury awards $68K to black student injured after white classmates wrapped rope around her neck

A private school in Texas this week was ordered to pay $68,000 in damages to the family of a black student who said white classmates wrapped a rope around her neck and dragged her to the ground, according to The New York Times.

A jury in Travis County ordered the school pay $55,000 for the physical pain and mental anguish caused by the 2016 incident, $10,000 for disfigurement sustained and $3,000 for medical expenses. The family sought $5.3 million in damages, but the jury did not determine that the school was guilty of gross negligence.

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The student's family sued the Waco, Texas, school after the girl, identified only as K.P. in court documents, said three white classmates who frequently bullied her put the rope around her neck on a sixth-grade field trip. Live Oak Classical School maintains that her injury was an accident.

“It looked like somebody ripped my daughter’s neck off and stitched it back together,” Sandy Rougely said in 2016, describing the injuries to her then 12-year-old daughter.

The family's lawyer, Levi McCathern II, said the student's race played a role in the school not notifying the girl's parents.

“If it had been a little white girl they would have been on the phone with her mother within the hour,” he said Thursday.

School lawyer David Deaconson contends that the injury was not a result of bullying and that the school's failure to report the episode had nothing to do with race, according to the Times.