COLUMBUS, Ind. (WISH) - A former high school student was awarded $150,000 in damages from the school and the alleged bully.
Margaret Sobieralski alleged classmate Daniel Herrick bullied her and that the school failed to respond. Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation insurance company paid $100,000 and Herrick's parent's homeowner's policy anted $50,000. Homeowner's policies typically cover such cases.
The Federal Complaint alleged that the two students were members of the Columbus North Marching Band and that Daniel 'became enamored with Margaret' at band camp in 2008.
The suit alleges:
"Rather than gracefully accepting Margaret's lack of ardor, Daniel, not unpredictably as it turned out, became infuriated with rejection, concocted elaborate, graphic and salacious tales of Margaret's sexual exploits."
The parties admitted no guilt in the 6-figure settlement.
"Insurance companies aren't in the habit of handing out $150,000 if nothing wrong was done," said Michael Thomasson, the lawyer for now 20-year-old Margaret Sobieralski. "Many parties were at fault but the principal's behavior was reprehensible. He became the bully."
Thomasson said the principal failed to respond to numerous requests for help from himself, from an outside counselor and others. It's also alleged the school retaliated against his client.
"Upon Margaret's return to school from professional treatment the school punished her for the ‘trouble' she had caused them," said Thomasson. "The band director for no ostensible reason took a leadership role away from her and decided to move her to row by herself."
Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation sent this comment to 24-Hour News 8:
The settlement in this case, which was agreed to by Ms. Sobieralski and her attorney, specifically acknowledged that the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation denied all wrongdoing. There has not been any finding of fault against BCSC. The facts developed during the investigation of this lawsuit confirmed that the allegations were not supported by the evidence, and the staff of BCSC did at all times act in the best interest of this student and all students. Had this matter proceeded to trial, BCSC is confident that a jury would have found in its favor.The insurer agreed to pay the settlement.
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