About 95 to 96% of personal injury trials are settled pretrial. But in the case of a 12-year-old Texas girl who sustained severe rope burns on her neck after an overnight school trip, it’s less about coming to a sizable monetary settlement and more about demanding justice for what appeared to be a race-fueled attack.
The girl’s parents are, however, demanding a hefty settlement from the school. Sandy Rougely and Kevin Parker are seeking $3 million in damages to cover the cost of medical expenses, physical pain, mental anguish, disfigurement, impairment, and loss of use and enjoyment of life for their daughter.
The reason behind the massive settlement demand is “to not only compensate the victims in this case, but to deter this type of egregious conduct from others in the future, and to serve as an example to all educational institutions that this type of behavior is unacceptable.”
The injury occurred during a class visit to a ranch in April, when the children came across a rope swing hanging from a tree. According to the lawsuit, three white boys came up behind the girl and wrapped the rope around her neck, pulling her to the ground.
Rougely told The Dallas Morning News last month that, “It looked like somebody had ripped her neck apart and stitched it back together.”
Live Oak Classical School, the school the children attended, released a statement saying that they took the suggestions of racism very serious and could find no evidence that racism played a role after interviewing eyewitnesses.
The lawsuit also claims that the school did not address the injury well. Allison Buras, the school’s dean, did not look into the incident, or notify Rougely of her daughter’s injury when it happened.
“For Live Oak to bury their head in the sand and chalk this incident up to an ‘accident’ or ‘kids being kids’ is irresponsible but unfortunately all too common,” said Levi G. McCathern, the family’s attorney.