Stevenson v. Martin County Board of Education

3 Fed. Appx. 25 (2001)

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Stevenson v. Martin County Board of Education

United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
3 Fed. Appx. 25 (2001)

  • Written by Tammy Boggs, JD

Facts

Alex Stevenson (plaintiff) began his sixth-grade year at a public middle school in Martin County and almost immediately became the target of bullying. Alex was robbed and assaulted by classmates Charles McEachern and Kemadrick Sherrod. Sherrod threw books at Alex and was suspended. McEachern picked a fight with Alex in retaliation for Sherrod’s suspension, and the school suspended both McEachern and Alex. Alex’s father, Elmer Stevenson (plaintiff) met with the school principal, who said he would separate the boys but failed to do so. McEachern continued to harass, intimidate, hit, and kick Alex, and nothing was done. On one occasion, in Ms. Chance’s class, McEachern punched Alex in the head, but Chance did not help and said, “There isn’t anything I can do,” and “You probably deserved it anyway.” McEachern and his friend followed Alex out of Chance’s classroom and continued beating Alex. Another teacher finally intervened, and the teacher was assaulted as well. McEachern and his friend were suspended and required to attend a different school for several weeks. Meanwhile, friends of McEachern continued to assault Alex. One of these friends was suspended. After Alex and Elmer were harassed by McEachern outside of the school, Elmer decided to withdraw Alex and transfer him to a private school. Alex and Elmer sued the Martin County Board of Education and certain school officials (collectively, the county) (defendants) in federal district court, alleging federal constitutional violations, a violation of the Safe Schools Act, and other state common-law claims like negligence. The Safe Schools Act was a federal law under which the federal government granted money to states for funding antiviolence and antidrug programs. The court granted the county’s motion to dismiss the federal claims and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state-law claims. Alex and Elmer appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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