A lawsuit filed against the Cumberland County Board of Education alleges that school officials’ negligence led to an attack on a South View High School student who was being bullied.
Steven Michael Dunning, 21, and his mother, Susan Dunning Sans, filed the suit Monday in Cumberland County Superior Court.
The suit, which seeks more than $10,000, accuses school officials of allowing Dunning to be attacked in a locker room in April 2008.
Dunning was a senior who had been the victim of bullying for some time, according to the complaint. He was attacked by two students, one of whom was known to bully him, the complaint says.
Those students, Angel Luis Santana and Jabesh Clarence Reid, are not named as defendants in the lawsuit but were criminally charged after the assault.
The school board’s lawyer, David Phillips, said he was aware of the lawsuit but had not been served with a copy. He declined to comment.
According to the lawsuit, Dunning and other students were changing clothes in the locker room and were not under supervision of any school officials when Dunning was attacked.
Santana, who according to the complaint had an “uncontrolled penchant for violence and a history of violent conduct,” was taunting Dunning in an attempt to egg him into playing a game of slap boxing.
After Dunning declined, he turned away from Santana, according to the complaint. At that time, he felt something strike him on the left side of his jaw.
Dunning fell to one knee, then tried to cover his face with his hands, according to the complaint. He was then pummeled with kicks and blows to his head and shoulders, the complaint says.
According to a news release at the time of the attack, Dunning needed extensive surgery to correct gum and bone damage likely caused by the retainer he was wearing when hit.
The complaint said that Dunning’s jaw had to be wired for several weeks after the attack.
Santana, 20, of the 5400 block of Gilcrest Sands Drive, and Reid, 19, of the 2000 block of Daniel Boone Lane, were charged with aggravated assault inflicting serious injury.
According to the lawsuit, they were convicted in March 2009. Court records show Santana was convicted of misdemeanor assault inflicting serious injury and sentenced to 18 months of probation. He was required to write a 10-page book report and enroll in a physical training program.
Reid received a 60-day sentence for violating conditions of probation.