Kid With Dyslexia Sues School
by Denise Buffa, New York Post, July 28, 2003
For more articles like this
A dyslexic Brooklyn boy and his mother plan to sue the city
Department of Education because they claim the teen attempted
suicide after school officials told him he was so dumb, he
wouldn't graduate until he was 21.
The 16-year-old claims his principal and teachers at MS 57 on
Stuyvesant Avenue called him "dumb," "stupid" and other
derogatory terms in front of other students, who started making
fun of him, too.
But his mother, Rhonda, who spoke on the condition that she be
identified only by her first name, said she was unaware her son
was being "repeatedly berated, insulted and disparaged" until
"He ran out of the house, and when he came back in, he was
holding his stomach. I pulled up his shirt and saw the cut
marks," the mother said.
"He had taken one of my big kitchen knives."
The boy, whose identity is being withheld by The Post, was
rushed to Jamaica Hospital and then transferred to Holliswood
Hospital in Queens for psychiatric treatment, lawyers said.
He was treated for cuts to his abdomen and right shoulder, put
into therapy and prescribed an anti-depressant, the lawyers
said. They maintain the teen never had psychiatric problems
In the days and weeks that followed, Rhonda says she delicately
got her tall, lanky son - once "the life of the party" - to
reveal the reason why he tried to take his life.
"He was telling little bits and pieces, not everything at once,"
she said. "He was just fed up with everything."
She says he claimed the principal had berated him in the school
lunchroom more than once and in the hallway at least one time,
while his social-studies teacher had made fun of him two or
three times in class.
One of their Manhattan lawyers, Charles Pelella, said, "We
allege it's a pattern. We believe we have substantiation of
Rhonda and her son have notified the city of their intent to sue
for an unspecified amount of damages in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
"The case is in the claims stage, and we do not have enough
information at this time to comment," said Ellen Lombardi, first
deputy chief of the city Law Department.
Rhonda says that the information will be provided in due time,
because she wants to do more than help her son.
"I don't want any parent to go through what I had to go
through," she said. "I'm very angry because these are people I
trusted with my son."
back to the top ~
back to Breaking News
~ back to