Lawsuit claiming Oak Hammock teacher bullied boy refiled against St. Lucie School District

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — The mother of a fifth-grader at Oak Hammock K-8 School who claims her son was bullied by a teacher has submitted an amended lawsuit against the St. Lucie County School District, this time including a letter from an assistant principal admitting an offense occurred.

In the lawsuit originally filed in April, Antonia Jean claims her 11-year-old son, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, has been subjected to physical and psychological abuse from Cliff Kemp, the child's reading teacher at Oak Hammock, throughout the current academic year.

Kemp is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

A Nov. 30 letter to Jean from LaTanya Greene, assistant principal at Oak Hammock, states an investigation into a specific allegation that Kemp pushed a desk into the boy and taunted him on Oct. 6 "has concluded that the incident did constitute an act of bullying or harassment."

Greene wrote that the school "has taken appropriate action against Mr. Kemp."

Janice Karst, director of communications for the School District, wrote in an email Tuesday that "a letter of concern was placed in Mr. Kemp's personnel file per the protocol of the district's employee progressive discipline policy."

"Any retaliatory behavior based on this complaint, and any other act of bullying or harassment directed at (the boy)," Greene wrote, "will result in additional disciplinary action."

Greene's letter states the boy was transferred to another classroom and will be offered counseling.

Karst declined further comment, citing district policy against commenting on pending litigation.

The lawsuit filed by Dena Sisk Foman, a member of the West Palm Beach law firm of McLaughlin & Stern, seeks a judgment for damages but doesn't specify a dollar amount. Foman said Jean is asking for money to "pay expenses for (the boy's) care through adolescence and to pay for a private school education, since the public school system has failed him."

Foman said Jean will be seeking "pain and suffering damages as well."

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