Hoops star’s family sues school district, coach for more than $500,000 over bullying problems

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

The family of a high school girls basketball star who was forced to transfer to an elite private school in Connecticut after being pushed out of her local high school by bullying is suing her former coach and the school district for an astounding fee of more than half a million dollars, citing significant mental and physical health costs associated with the bullying she faced and the sky-high tuition cost for the private school at which she landed.

As reported by CBSChicago and the Southtown Star, among other outlets (it was originally brought to Prep Rally's attention by the folks at Larry Brown Sports), the family of former Orchard Park (Ill.) Carl Sandberg High girls basketball star Kathleen Mulvey decided to sue Consolidated School District 230 and their Mulvey's former coach at Sandberg after their daughter transferred to a new school before her senior year. They claim New Milford (Conn.) Canterbury School to which she transferred was the only institution that would accept a senior transfer, leading to $50,000 of the funds they are now asking for from Mulvey's former coach and the school district.

The Mulvey family's allegations of bullying are serious and significant. The most striking incident occurred during a practice, when the Mulveys claim their daughter was intentionally pushed from behind while she went up for a layup. An awkward landing from that incident tore a tendon in her foot and required surgery and physical therapy for two months, sidelining a player who averaged 15 points and 4 assists per game as a sophomore and has been picked to represent the U.S. in the Summer 2012 World Games.

"As Kathleen writhed in pain, the girl stood over and glared at her, never offering any assistance," the lawsuit claims, according to the Star.

As a result of the injury, the younger Mulvey became depressed and eventually was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder related to the bullying she absorbed during her first three years at Sandberg.

According to the Mulveys' suit, that bullying continued only because of consistent apathy from the Orchard Park school district and their daughter's former coach in particular.

"[Sandburg] officials did nothing to stop the bullying. After three years, some half-hearted effort was made to stop the bullying, but school personnel seemed to work against the efforts to stop the bullying."

Clearly, Mulvey suffered through something that no one would wish on any teenager. The question now is whether $500,000 -- or more -- is adequate compensation to make up for her suffering, and whether the school district is most responsible for that emotional and physical pain.

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