Incident on School Bus, at Stop Leads to Lawsuit Against Palm Beach County School District

Marion Herbert's picture
Thursday, July 5, 2012

A high school student who was assaulted after standing up to bullies is now suing the School District of Palm Beach County (Fla.) for not upholding its own anti-bullying policy.

A bus driver's negligence led to Louis Toth's being beat up at his bus stop west of West Palm Beach, according to a lawsuit filed in Palm Beach County civil court on Monday. The incident occurred on Jan. 23, 2009, when Toth was an 11th-grader at Royal Palm Beach Community High School.

That afternoon, a group of about six students "bullied" and stole the cellphone of another student as they rode home from school, the lawsuit says. When the bullying turned into fighting, the bus driver told the bullies, the student whose phone was stolen and Toth to "take their fight off the bus."

The driver is not identified in the lawsuit.

The students got off the bus at the intersection of Belvedere Road and Flatrock Road, Toth's designated stop, and the driver promptly drove off without attempting to intervene, according to the lawsuit.

When the fighting continued off the bus and with the other student still outnumbered, Toth attempted to break up the fight, the lawsuit says. Multiple students then attacked Toth, punching and kicking him in the face.

As a result, the lawsuit says, Toth sustained physical injuries, pain, suffering, mental anguish, and loss of the capacity for the enjoyment of life. He also incurred medical expenses for his injuries in 2009 and expects to incur medical expenses into the future for a permanent injury.

The lawsuit does not describe Toth's injuries. Neither Toth nor his attorney Matthew Levy, could be reached for comment despite a call to Levy's office.

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