The Grinnell-Newburg school district has reached a settled for an undisclosed amount in a bullying case. Superintendent Todd Abrahamson says the suit was settled last Tuesday during jury selection. He says many potential jurors had formed opinions about the issues in the case that disqualified them from serving on the jury…and because a jury could not be seated, a mistrial would have occurred.
The new trial date would likely have been 9-12 months in the future. Rather than continuing to incur ongoing expenses involved in the delay and new trial, the district’s insurance carrier made the decision to settle the case. The case began in January of 2013. Matt Gannaway brought the suit against the school district, claiming his 8-year-old son Ethan was bullied by school administrators after he reported being bullied by another student.
The lawsuit claimed school administrators denied Ethan due process in investigating the bullying claims, the school breached its duty to act in behalf of the well being of Ethan, and the actions caused severe emotional stress. Abrahamson says that school personnel followed proper protocol when they investigated the situation and determined an unfounded case.
The settlement includes no admission of liability. The decision to settle was made by the insurance company, and no school district funds will be used to pay the settlement.
(Reporting by Chris Johnson, KGRN, Grinnell)