Kindergarten trauma still plagues 18-year-old, $900k suit says

By Ann Knef | Jul 7, 2008

An 18-year-old man who claims he was traumatized by a school principal when he attended kindergarten at Dupo Community Grade School is seeking $900,000 from the school district.

Randall Eugene Bishop of Patoka claims he is withdrawn and suffers from lack of confidence and low self-esteem after having been subject to physical abuse, emotional and psychological damage and public humiliation during the 1994-95 school year at Dupo Community Grade School.

According to a lawsuit filed June 26 in St. Clair County Circuit Court, Bishop was treated poorly after his mother, who was a bus driver, complained to then principal Gerald Blunt about changes made to her route.

Bishop claims that after his mother and the principal exchanged unpleasant words he began to be punished on a daily basis.

"The plaintiff was forced to stand against the wall of the school building during recess for one reason or another," the complaint states. "At first it was a few minutes then it became the entire recess the plaintiff would have to stand in time out."

Bishop claims that his mistreatment only intensified after his mother brought her concerns to the superintendent and school board.

In September 1994, Bishop claims the principal put him in the school library all day and he was not allowed lunch, to take a drink or go to the bathroom.

Bishop claims he was forced to wet his pants and had to ride the school bus home that way.

"Mr. Blunt admitted that he had placed the Plaintiff in the library and told him to stay there," the complaint states. "When ask (sic) why the plaintiff was punished Mr. Blunt stated that, 'This was his school and he could do as he pleased.'"

Bishop claims that he has struggled with effects of that abuse and "betrayal of authority figures the last 13 years of his life."

Bishop is representing himself in the lawsuit.

He claims the statute of limitations had expired by the time his parents realized the long term impact "this trauma" had on him.

"It is only now that the plaintiff has reached the age of 18 that he can seek jutice (sic) for the wrong that he has suffered," the complaint states.

Bishop claims School District 196 failed to complete a proper background check of Blunt prior to hiring him.

"Due to the daily harassment and psychological abuse by Mr. Blunt the plaintiff was unable to get a proper education and was forced to re-peat the kindergarten grade," the complaint states.

"The plaintiff also began to become somewhat disruptive and showed a lack of respect for authority."

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