An elite private school in Manhattan allegedly expelled a student in 2018 for confronting a bully, soon after the student’s father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The family is now filing a lawsuit against the school.
The lawsuit was first reported on by the New York Post, alleges that a seventh-grade student at the Hewitt School, an all-girl school in New York City, was expelled after confronting the classmate who had threatened to kill her. The motive, according to the family, was the girl’s nationality and religion.
The Hewitt School, which has a tuition of $50,900 per year, is accused of a “shockingly callous attitude” towards the girl who was dealing with the painful and “imminent death of her father caused by a devastating illness,” according to the suit.
The girl’s mother also said the school’s alleged mistreatment of the student was in part because she is a Palestinian-American Muslim girl, and was targeted by school officials because of her background.
According to the lawsuit filed in New York’s Supreme Court by attorney Stewart Lee Karlin, one day in math class, a classmate allegedly threatened to kill the girl, in front of their teacher. The document alleges that when the girl asked her teacher for help, she was told to “just forget about it.”
On April 16, 2018, after a period of the alleged abuse, the girl confronted her tormentor and told her she was “not afraid of her” and if she truly wanted to fight, the suit states. Even though there was no physical altercation, she was expelled less than a day after the incident.
The Lawsuit Claims For $2 Million In Pain
According to Yahoo Lifestyle, Karlin writes that Hewitt’s head of the school, Tara Kinsey, promised the girl’s mother that her expulsion and the details surrounding it would be kept private. However, Kinsey reportedly told the seventh-grade class during a “special assembly” and emailed parents to communicate the matter, without mentioning the girl by name.
The girl has undergone “significant emotional trauma” and “psychological harm,” the suit also states that Hewitt violated the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) by not implementing anti-bullying policies and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) privacy laws by discussing the expulsion.
The lawsuit asks for at least $2 million in pain, suffering, and damage to the girl’s reputation.
A spokeswoman for Hewitt said that due to the nature of the suit, they are limited in what they can say in regards to it.
However, the spokeswoman said the school “stands behind the decision we make and the actions we take to protect and preserve the teaching and learning environment for our girls and young women.”