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Lawsuit: Sandburg Student Leaves State Because of Bullying

The Mulvey family of Orland Park holds the school and its board of education members responsible for mental and physical injuries.

In a lawsuit seeking more than $500,000 in damages, the family of two former students alleges that the school district ignored bullying that caused one daughter’s injury, leading to psychological treatment and ultimately an out-of-state transfer.

The lawsuit, filed last week by Joseph Mulvey and Ellen Hogan-Mulvey, claims that for years their daughters, Meghan and Kathleen, were harassed by certain varisty basketball teammates after transferring from Providence High School as a junior and freshman, respectively.

The family says it warned Sandburg girls varsity basketball coach Chris Hellrung in June 2009 that a specific girl was going to hurt the younger Kathleen, who was pushed two days later while shooting a layup, severing a tendon in her right foot.

Hellrung, according to the suit, had assured the family that Kathleen was safe on the court and later called the injury an "accident."

As the bullying continued, the family was advised last spring to transfer Kathleen to a private school in Connecticut, which is close to her psychiatrist and the “only school which would accept her as a senior transfer,” according to the lawsuit.

At that time she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and treated for depression, the lawsuit states.

Lawrence Seiwert, an attorney for the family, accused the district of putting forth hardly any effort to protect both Mulvey children, though the school’s athletic department was aware of the bullying for years. Instead of upholding the anti-bullying rules of its own handbook, he said, they described the harassment as just “kids being kids” and then put their heads in the sand.

In addition to Hellrung and his brother Todd—both of whom coach the girl’s varsity team—the school’s principal, athletic director and dean of students, as well as the entire   Board of Education, its superintendent and assistant superintendent, are named individually as defendants.

“At this point we haven’t been served with legal documents and haven't seen the lawsuit, so we can't comment,” District 230 spokeswoman Carla Erdey said.

The Mulvey family did not return a message left Wednesday. Hellrung said, “I would love to tell my side,” but declined to comment on specifics.

mom March 06, 2012 at 01:22 AM
The family of the bullied child should be taking action against the student that hurt her not the school. And if my daughters were being bullied at Stagg , me as the parnet would make sure it stopped after the first time . I would never let my daughters stay in an unsafe enviroment. How the heck long did this go on? I got bullied when I was a kid and my mother nipped it right in the butt, by going to the bullies parents and the bully herself. I never got messed with again. Parents need to talk to each other and make it very clear that if you bully my child you will face the consequences. Most parents care how their children treat others and if they don't then the proper action must be taken. We live in a sue happy society. I wish I could sue the state of Illinois for making it almost finacially impossible to live here! God Bless and Keep Praying !
PatriotCitizen March 07, 2012 at 07:38 PM
How do you know that? Were you there? Sensationalism runs the media. Why are we second guessing anyone - The school district or the parents? The reality is that it's going to be hard for the parents to file a lawsuit in another state. I've seen Sandburg sports up close, police are present at events. The reality is if the student was "bullied" - then why hasn't there been a police investigation? Bullying is a crime, not to mention a violation of school rules/policy. Sandburg has a SRO (School Resource Officer) - a full time police officer present at the school during school hours. I'm sure that the parents have a track record with the school administration about reporting bullying - if not - how could a lawsuit even be remotely possible? (In other words - how could the suit has a fighting chance?) In the end - since I have kids that attend CSHS right now - this news is disappointing. However, I also know that the school is very aware of the rules and if any student was a victim of bullying - I know the school would act appropriately. This is not a perfect world we live in, but to sue the school seems a bit geared towards money more than anything else. By the way, if I walk on a sidewalk around CSHS and trip due to raised concrete. Can I also sue the school? At what point do we stop having lawyers ruin this country?
R.J. March 08, 2012 at 03:45 AM
I hear you Bob! I didn't complain in 1972,1973,74,75 or 76 to the school or authorities beacause NONE of them were listening! It's always 1)someone elses problem or 2)there's really nothing we can do. Were there even bullying laws back then? I did stand-up for myself-after all 'I was from the city!' I'm gonna keep my eyes peeled on this case! I can't believe it's NOT on Nancy Grace yet! VOKLST
frank March 08, 2012 at 06:35 PM
I have read the comments and Mr. Ben's reminder on where some people's comments are heading. I can't believe that most of you are neighbors in the sense that we may pass one another on the street, go to the same church, shop in the area, and even eat at the same places and have the views that are expressed about this article. I'm worried about my neighbors, <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
Susanna Moy May 08, 2012 at 06:16 PM
I am amazed at the police force at every corner trying to catch drivers speed and write a ticket. No, I did not get a ticket as I am trying to pretty much stay within the limits. But my point here is that if the police force would pay as much attention to bullying as they do to speeding, this would be a better place for our children and us adults. If bullying would always leave clear visible bodily injuries maybe there would be more attention paid to preventing it by law. As the most common visible bodily injury to bullying is death or death by suicide the ratio of breaking the law (bullying) and its visible and immediate outcome, is low compared to speeding and bodily injuries as a consequence. The priorities are clear: If it the injuries are not visible they don't need to be prevented. Police does not need to protect our children's emotional well being and no 911 truck will come and pick them up unless they took their own lives. I am not surprised that we have so much depression and suicide and angry and unhappy people in this world. The priorities are skewed and shifted. I hope that someday our children and their children can live in a more meaningful and kinder world and that thought leaders in this world will recognize their responsibility to bring priorities back to kindness, back to substance, back to mutual respect and away from all the fake pretentions and "cool" values and away from the entitlement to hurt other people mentally or physically.

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