MONROE, La. – A school in Louisiana is being sued by a couple who say their son was the victim of severe bullying over the past year, allegations the school denies.
The suit alleges several of the student's peers organized an event called "Hell Day" on May 13 at Cedar Creek School in Ruston, located about an hour east of Shreveport. Organizers were encouraging each other to "bully him at least once," per an online post. On the day of the incident, the student was chased around the school and put into a headlock by multiple students.
Starting eight months prior, the lawsuit claims, the student experienced "verbal insults, physical assaults and sexual battery" weekly. Additionally, the lawsuit alleges the school was aware of ongoing bullying but failed to "implement any effective intervention" to stop it.
Cedar Creek School bills itself as a "superior college preparatory" institution for K-12 students in north central Louisiana. The plaintiffs filed the lawsuit Wednesday in state district court in Ruston on behalf of their son, who has since been taken out of the school. The couple is seeking unspecified damages and a trial before a jury.
In the lawsuit, parents of the bullies, who are also coaches at Cedar Creek, talked to one of the plaintiffs May 14 and said they had asked their kids to "tone it down with their treatment of (the student)." The suit alleges that shows "the agents of Cedar Creek, and therefore Cedar Creek School, had knowledge of the past assaults and bullying."
Parents of students the plaintiffs allege bullied their son are also named defendants in the suit.
Cedar Creek's Head of School Andrew Yepson said the school denies all allegations made in the lawsuit and is deciding how to proceed. The school is debating filing a counter lawsuit for libel and defamation.
"The allegations raised in the lawsuit were investigated by Cedar Creek as soon they were brought to our attention in May 2021," Yepson said. "Based on school policy, we took disciplinary action against several individual students."
Additionally, Yepson said the school created an anonymous hotline for anyone to report bullying or any inappropriate behavior.
"We remain committed to ensuring that Cedar Creek provides a safe, secure environment for all students," Yepson said. "Bullying, harassment, intimidation, stalking, and similar actions have no place in our school community and will not be tolerated."
The plaintiffs' names are not included because the case involves a minor.
Contributing: Lindsay Schnell, USA TODAY
This article originally appeared on Monroe News-Star: Parents sue Louisiana school, alleging son was severely bullied