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Student Awarded $50,000 In Bullying Case

Last updated on Thursday, October 17, 2013

(MADISON CO.) - A Madison County jury on Tuesday decided that a school corporation was in the wrong after a 2008 bullying case was reported.

The former female Pendleton Heights High School student was awarded $50,000. She filed a tort claim against South Madison Community School Corp. because she says the school neglected and mishandled the investigation.

The student was 15 years old when she found computer-edited photos hung around the school that showed her in a "sexually suggestive manner," The Herald Bulletin reports. Her phone number was also listed on the photos.

When the incident was reported, the student says she was sent back to class. She says the school identified the student suspected of posting the photo and that male student was suspended from school. Police also charged him for distribution of child pornography and child exploitation.

She was transferred to a different school but says the school did not offer her counseling. A local doctor said the victim suffered from PTSD.

The victim's attorney asked for $80,000 and the school's attorney offered $50,000. The six-person jury decided to offer the victim $50,000 after a three-hour deliberation.

A new law recently passed requires training and certain new procedures for staff and students in what to do if bullying incidents occur in schools. Under the law, staff and students will be required to report bullying to administrators. Students will also be able to report it anonymously.

Staff will need to report it the same school day and the investigation will also begin that day. If a staff member fails to report an incident, they may be reprimanded, suspended or terminated. Counseling for bullied students will be offered and an education course will be required for the bullies to prevent the incident from happening again.

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