Bullying Victim Sees Victory in Settlement Over Farmingdale School District

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Farmingdale student Austin Schneiderman, 16, who was bullied for three years at his school, has agreed to an undisclosed sum of money from the district over claims that it failed to protect him and take reasonable steps to stop to the bullying, according to his lawyers at the personal injury firm of Goldstein and Bashner.

We hope cases like this one help other families realize that there is recourse against schools that turn a blind eye to the very serious problem of bullying.

Farmingdale student Austin Schneiderman, 16, who was bullied for three years at his school, has agreed to an undisclosed sum of money from the district over claims it failed to protect him and take reasonable steps to stop to the bullying. (Case 004397/2013 Nassau County Supreme Court)

According to court documents, the incidents started in 2010 when Schneiderman was in sixth grade and attended Weldon E. Howitt Middle School in Farmingdale, NY. As detailed in the documents, he was allegedly intimidated, harassed, kicked, punched and spit on and was once punched so hard in the abdomen that he had blood in his urine. In other alleged incidents, his face was smashed into the gym bleachers, his arm was lacerated from repeated pencil stabbings and he was frequently punched in the face, stomach, arms and legs. After telling his full story to school officials and being told he would be protected, Austin claims he was jumped on and beaten up by six of the bullies.

Austin wrote in a journal for his English class: “I feel like everyone hates me…and that I don’t have friends that I can trust anymore so this is the real me. You might think I’m nice and happy because I talk a lot and I smile. I just do that so people don’t make fun of me and see who I really am on the inside. I have a book at home of all the times I got bullied and some of my thoughts were suicide.”

Despite calls to the superintendent and talks with the teachers, the Schneidermans allege that little was done and the bullying continued. “Teachers, administrators, and guidance counselors knew about the problems going on but failed Austin and did not do nearly enough to stop the relentless bullying,” said Neal Goldstein, a partner at the law firm of Goldstein and Bashner, which represented the family in the lawsuit. “Austin’s journal helped illustrate for the court how the years of being picked on and tormented caused not just physical pain but emotional injuries. These are just as serious and when proven are absolutely as compensable as physical injuries.”

“We hope cases like this one help other families realize that there is recourse against schools that turn a blind eye to the very serious problem of bullying. No child should fear riding a school bus or going to class. Our firm has put numerous articles and other free resources on our website to help parents in these situations. The fact that we get so many calls from around the country shows just how widespread the problem of bullying really is.” Meanwhile, Austin now wants to help other bullied children and is looking for volunteer mentoring and other opportunities to share his experiences.

About Goldstein and Bashner
Goldstein and Bashner is a Long Island personal injury firm. Partners Neal Goldstein and Robert Bashner have been practicing law for more than 25 years, concentrating on personal injury matters including bullying cases and school incidents, slip and fall injuries, car accidents, and assaults. For more information, as well as numerous informative articles, blogs and free reports, visit eglaw.com.

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