A jury in Texas awarded $68,000 to a Black girl whose white classmates aggressively wrapped a rope around her neck and dragged her to the ground.
The Travis County jury ordered Live Oak Classical School to pay $55,000 for the physical pain and mental anguish caused by the 2016 incident. They also ordered the unidentified student be given $10,000 for disfigurement sustained and $3,000 for medical expenses.
The family initially sought $5.3 million in damages, but the jury did not determine that the school was guilty of gross negligence, according to The New York Times.
The incident occurred when the victim, who was called K.P. in court documents, was on a sixth-grade field trip. While on the trip, three white classmates who frequently bullied her put the rope around her neck. Although school officials claimed the injury was an accident, the victim’s mother said the proof is in the scarring.
“It looked like somebody ripped my daughter’s neck off and stitched it back together,” Sandy Rougely, the girl’s mother, said in 2016.
The family’s lawyer, Levi McCathern II, believes the student’s race played a role in the school not notifying the girl’s parents.
“If it had been a little white girl they would have been on the phone with her mother within the hour,” he said Thursday.
School lawyer David Deaconson contends that the injury was not a result of bullying and that the school’s failure to report the episode had nothing to do with race, according to the Times.