Tri States Public Radio Staff
Lawsuit over 2011 Fight
Thu November 29, 2012
Jury: Keokuk School District Negligent
A Lee County jury says the Keokuk School District was negligent in its handling of a physical altercation between two middle school students.
The altercation took place on October 31, 2011 at the middle school.
The mother of one of the students involved sued the district in January of this year.
The civil lawsuit, filed in Iowa District Court, alleged the student was threatened by another student on the date in question.
It goes on to state that the threatened student told at least four middle school staff members about the threat, but the district did not do enough to prevent the altercation.
The district countered that the threatened student had ample opportunity to avoid the altercation.
Court documents show the jury eventually decided that the other student did commit battery against the threatened student, that the district was at fault based on negligence and that the district’s fault damaged the threatened student.
The jury also decided that the threatened student was not at fault in the altercation.
8th Judicial District Judge John Linn ordered the district to pay nearly $3,000 for medical expenses and to cover legal fees.
Attorney Curt Dial represented the mother who sued the district.
He says his clients are very pleased with the verdict, adding that they felt the incident was an example of bullying.
Attorney Steven Ort released a statement on the district’s behalf Thursday evening.
“The Keokuk Community School District appreciates the time and effort spent by the jury. Student’s safety has been and will continue to be a primary concern of the Keokuk Community School District and the jury’s findings will be taken into consideration in assuring these policies continue. The district has, and will, continue to have an anti-bullying program to help prevent problems. We view the incident involving this student as an isolated and unfortunate occurrence. It is clear the jury was very responsible in its assessment of damages.”