NEW WHITELAND, Ind. — A Clark-Pleasant Middle School student and her family are suing the district for $2.1 million. They claim their daughter has been the victim of racial bullying for years, and that the school has yet to address it, despite being notified on numerous occasions.
“She will have people send, for two years, messages calling her the “N” word, people telling her to kill herself,” details Attorney James Lockwood, “In fact, last week she received a Snapchat message saying why don’t you just kill yourself. She had one kid on the bus scream in her face white lives matter.”
Zonyell Weaver is an eighth grader at Clark-Pleasant Middle School. We first told you about her story in mid-May. The family says after our segment aired, the bullying got worse, and Zonyell had to be signed out of school that next day.
“Honestly, if anyone really wanted to ask my opinion, I think she would have got hurt that day,” says Zonyell’s mother Debra Weaver.
She is a Black student who is a lesbian and adopted. Her family says students have bullied her for all of the above, and even threatened to kill her. They say the harassment happens at school, online, and from the street outside their home. The family had to file police reports when children showed up outside their home to yell obscenities. It’s pushed her to attempt suicide on numerous occasions, and to enter three psychiatric facilities. She often hides at school instead of going through the hallways when people are around.
“She got a hold of staples, and stapled her mouth all up. She got a hold of a razor out of a pencil sharpener, and cut her arms up. All in school, and not one teacher has noticed that,” claims Debra Weaver, “She has a right just to an education just like everyone else, without being bullied, tortured, told to kill herself. That’s what we want. We want acknowledgment. This has gone too far, and it needs to stop.”
In a statement, the school district says,
“The Clark-Pleasant Community School Corporation takes all claims of bullying seriously. The Clark-Pleasant Community School Corporation promptly investigates all claims of bullying and takes all appropriate remedial action in response to each claim. Because the safety and well-being of our students is paramount, we have mental health professionals in each building along with community-based therapists to support students. However, even with all of these resources and effort by our staff, social media and student access to digital media outside of the school day can have a significant impact on the mental health of students. We urge all parents to be extremely mindful of their children’s social media access and digital footprint.”Clark-Pleasant Community School Corporation
“They have shown them the Snapchat messages, and nothing was done,” adds Lockwood.
We reached to experts of law and of public rights, hoping to get an understanding of what a school is supposed to do in these situations. Unfortunately, we could not get anyone to do an interview with us. Clark-Pleasant Schools should be getting an official filing of the lawsuit in the coming days.