William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNewsnet
BROOKLAWN, N.J.(CNBNewsnet)(November 12, 2018)—A former student of the Alice Costello School, identified as C.M. filed a lawsuit against the Brooklawn School District on August 16, 2018 claiming the district discriminated against her. The plaintiff attended the Alice Costello School, 301 Haakon Road, in 7th and 8th grade for the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school years.
The case is captioned C.M. by her parent J.M., v. Brooklawn Public school District, and John Does 1-5 and 6-10.
The plaintiff suffers from Type 1 Diabetes. As such she is legally disabled under the state's Law Against Discrimination (LAD) according to the lawsuit.
In her suit, the female student said that sometime in June 2017, on the last day of her seventh grade year, a female student told her, "I will knock the diabetes out of you." She alleges that later that same day the same female student posted on social media that she was going to "f…" her up. Plaintiff's mother, J.M., made a formal complaint about the harassment directly to the school.
Shortly after plaintiff returned to school for her eight grade year, around September 19,2017, she spent two days in the hospital because she went into diabetic shock. When she returned to school she says her teacher forced her to take and exam that same day despite the fact she had spent the last two days in the hospital. She further alleges that a few days later her art teacher, Deidra McGrory, refused to let her use the bathroom when she asked.
The suit states, "The plaintiff repeated her request and urged Ms. McGrory to allow her to use the bathroom. Despite this reasonable request, Ms. McGroary still said no."
According to the lawsuit, in November 2017, the plaintiff's mother, J.M. met with Tracy Brown, school psychiatrist, Patricia Moulton, head of the Child Study Team, Jill Tourtual, school nurse, Sean Dallas, and Mr. Kirschner, two of her child's teachers to discuss the bathroom incident. During the meeting J.M. told those in attendance that because of her daughter's diabetes she has to drink 14 ounces of fluid each hour and must go the bathroom to flush the ketones in her system to avoid her from going into to diabetic ketoacidosis. She also stated that her daughter must regulate her blood sugars, therefore she must eat throughout the day. At the end of the meeting, J.M. was assured that all of plaintiffs teachers would be reeducated on C.M's medical condition and the reasonable accommodations associated thereafter.
Despite this meeting and assurances, the suit alleges, the student asked to use the bathroom on December 20,2017, and was denied.
The suit states, the harassment of plaintiff was purposeful, intentional, and willful, and was undertaken by members of Brooklawn Public School District's upper management.
The plaintiff is seeking a jury trial and is asking for compensatory damages, punitive damages, interest, cost of suit, attorney's fees, equitable back pay, equitable front pay, equitable reinstatement, and any other relief the court deems equitable and just.
Representing the plaintiff is Kevin M. Costello from the law firm of Costello and Mains, LLC, Mount Laurel. In 2017 Costello represented another student from the Brooklawn School District who made similar charges against the district. The court awarded that student a $100,000 settlement. The fourth grade girl , identified as J.R., said that she was bullied so severely by other students that she was prescribed anti-anxiety medication that the school nurse refused to give her. Her anxiety became so severe, her suit alleges, that she attempted to harm herself. From the amount of the settlement $49,796 was paid for attorney fees. The remainder was deposited with the Camden County Surrogate to be put in trust for her.
CNBNews contacted school superintendent, Dr. Sam Rossetti and Robert Delengowski, school business administrator about the lawsuit. Both men said they were not aware of any lawsuit being filed against the district. After we sent them a copy of it, Delengowski said, "The district was never served with this summons, nor did we receive a Notice of Tort. I am going to contact our solicitor as well as send this off to our Insurance carrier."
CNBNews also contacted Kevin M. Costello the attorney who represents the plaintiff, and asked if they had any record of the court documents being served on the district? Costello said, "We had to update the facts in the case. As such the original document has been amended. The new one will be served on the plaintiffs in the very near future. The case is proceeding."