Mother of elementary student alleges bullying at Swansea school

By The Madison County Record | Oct 16, 2014

The mother of a Swansea elementary school student says her son was bullied repeatedly and nothing was done to stop it.

Permissa Acoff, individually and on behalf of her minor son, filed a lawsuit Sept. 30 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Scott Harres, Jeff Burkett and Wolf Branch School District 113 Board of Education.

Acoff says her son was a student at Wolf Branch Elementary during the 2013-2014 school year and was made fun of and called names during that time. She says she talked to his teachers and the school principal, Burkett, and was told they would monitor the situation and talk to the parents of the students responsible. However, Acoff claims the bullying continued and no disciplinary action was taken.

Later, Acoff alleges her son was slapped in the head by one of the bullies. She says another student hit him with spit balls and called him a racial slur. She contends, again, no disciplinary action was taken against the offending students. Acoff says her son has been hurt, has had difficulty sleeping at night, and his education has suffered because of the bullying.

Harres, the school superintendent, and Burkett are accused of indifference to the reports of the ongoing bullying, infliction of emotional distress and fraud for allegedly not addressing the issue with the students' parents after saying they would.

Acoff claims the district school board has been negligent and is responsible for the principal's and superintendent's lack of action. She asks for an unspecified amount of money in damages plus court costs.

Attorney Justin L. Mason, of St. Louis, represents Acoff and her son. They request a jury trial.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 14-L-668.

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