A Carrollton family is suing Lewisville ISD after the district suspended their son for a fight that took place at Hebron High School.
But the parents say the student was protecting himself against bullying.
Scott Pittman, whose son is a sophomore at Hebron and plays on the baseball team, disagrees with the district's decision to suspend his son.
The incident in question happened March 19 when his son was in the shower after baseball practice.
In an affidavit, the sophomore stated that, one teammate began urinating on him in the shower, and another teammate spit on him. It states he punched one of the students several times “to get out of the corner and get away from the situation.”
“He was scared, and he didn’t know what they were going to do to him,” Pittman said. “He wanted out.”
According to the lawsuit, Hebron Principal Scot Finch and his staff conducted an investigation and notified each student of the result, including consequences. Pittman said his son was issued in-school suspension. It's unclear what punishment the other students received, but Pittman said he believes five students in all received suspensions.
According to LISD's Code of Conduct, a student who has been a victim of bullying and uses reasonable self-defense in response to bullying can not be punished.
However, records state that school administrators did not find bullying to have taken place March 19 because “it did not severely affect the student's academic performance or educational environment.”
In an affidavit, the sophomore stated that “bullying by this group of students breaks down my self-confidence, keeps me from enjoying school, playing for the baseball team and hurts my education and academics.”
Pittman said Finch also told him bullying was not found to have taken place because the sophomore could have walked away from the incident.
Another statement indicated the student who spit water on the student was pushed into a corner by him and began getting punched.
Statements from the sophomore and other students note several other incidents throughout the year that show a history of bullying against him. He said the same group of students have taken his iPad, put tacks in his chair, thrown baseballs at him, sent him threatening texts, verbally abused him and more.
However, other players provided statements that indicate some of the actions toward the sophomore happen with all of the players. Others stated they were just joking around.
LISD spokeswoman Karen Permetti said the district can’t say much about the incident because of child privacy laws and because of ongoing litigation.
“Based upon the finding of the investigation, we followed the student code of conduct, which outlines the discipline levels under harassment,” Permetti said.
The code of conduct states that a disciplinary action that does not involve the student being removed from school can be appealed to the campus principal. The appeals have been exhausted.
Pittman said his family is not suing for monetary gain but rather to keep the suspension from going on their son’s record. Pittman said he and his ex-wife, Karen, are concerned that the suspension will go on their son's permanent record and that it will negatively affect his chances of getting into a private school, university or graduate school.