A 16-year-old cheerleader is suing her high school in Long Island, New York, for $6 million, alleging persistent bullying by her classmates with videos of the attacks being spread online.
After years of being targeted at Smithtown West High School — where her classmates pulled her hair, hit her and filmed attacks on her that were shared on social media — the girl wanted to commit suicide.
The $6 million court case filed with Suffolk County last month details the brutal bullying the 10th grader endured at her high school, with shocking accusations of physical hostility, mental abuse and endless microaggressions.
Her parents were so desperate that they put their house up for sale and bought her a horse as an emotional support animal last year, but the mare was tragically killed in front of the girl by a veterinarian four months later, the lawsuit alleges.
Since then, the girl, identified as AS, has been mocked over the death of her pet and was called “horse girl” by the bullies, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that the school, school district, board and school superintendent were aware of what happened but failed to address the problems.
A teenager is suing her Long Island high school, claiming she was constantly bullied by classmates
The $6 million lawsuit details the brutal bullying the 10th grader endured, with shocking allegations of physical hostility, mental abuse and endless microaggressions.
The school declined to comment and Superintendent Mark Secaur (pictured) said the school “remains steadfast” in its efforts to “maintain a positive, safe and nurturing academic environment” for students.
Attorney Kenneth Mollins, who represents the cheerleader, says the school failed to protect the girl.
“The law requires schools to act in loco parentis, or ‘as parents,’ while the children are in their care and custody,” Mollins shared. The everyday beast. And it has become clear that schools cannot protect their students from bullying.’
The school declined to comment, saying it “remains steadfast” in its efforts to “maintain a positive, safe and nurturing academic environment” for students.
“The district does not comment on matters related to litigation, but we take all allegations regarding bullying very seriously and investigate such claims thoroughly,” Smithtown Central School District Superintendent Mark Secaur said in an email.
The bullying started in the 2018-2019 school year, when the girl was in sixth grade. A classmate, identified as AM, started causing trouble during recess and lunch.
She and her parents were asked to complete a DASA – a formal complaint under the Dignity for All Students Act, after informing the school of the incidents.
The school’s investigation turned out to be unfounded, court documents say, even though videos were submitted as evidence.
The COVID lockdown seemed to temporarily resolve the conflict between AS and AM, both of whom were on the varsity cheer team in the fall of 2021.
After a “quiet” school year, the lawsuit alleges, the teen was seriously assaulted at a house party in the summer of 2022.
A bunch of girls from the cheer team surrounded AS when she arrived at a party in Kings Park.
One said, “I kissed a boy you like,” the lawsuit alleges.
Another cheerleader grabbed her by the hair and dragged her to the ground before others joined her to punch, kick and pull her naked, the suit alleges.
AS left the cheer team, but the bullies were allowed to stay on. The parents also filed a police report, but nothing came of it, the complaint alleges.
The teenager received home tutoring with a doctor’s note. until “the education she received at home was unacceptable” to the school in September 2022. The teen returned to school with the promise that she would be kept safe.
The bullying escalated to a more serious level. During the homecoming party, her classmates threw food at her and forcibly took her to the school bathroom while yelling and cursing at her, the lawsuit said.
The girl’s horse was murdered in front of her in February this year, although the lawsuit and her lawyer did not release details of the killing.
The teenager threatened to commit suicide and was allowed to finish the year at home. When she had to go to school for the last time in May, she was attacked and filmed again, the lawsuit said.
Once again, these claims were unsubstantiated by the school district, the lawsuit said.
In 2014, a bus driver in the same school district, Smithtown Central School District, was fired after bullying children.