Anthony Aquino
Someone Being Bullied
Male | Windsor, ON   Canada
$12M lawsuit alleges school bullying
Bullying Type: Physical / Emotional
Posted By: Capacity
6/10/13 2:44 PM
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One of the local school boards named in a $12-million bullying lawsuit will vigorously defend itself against the allegations made by the alleged victim's family, a spokesperson said Tuesday.

Colleen Norris said the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board takes the claims made by the Aquino family "very seriously" and will be fighting them in court.

A spokes-person for the Greater Essex County District School Board said the public board was unable to comment on the lawsuit.

Anthony Aquino, 12, and his parents Donna and Anthony Sr. filed a statement of claim involving 15 defendants - including individual schools and staff - last week for what they say were two years of bullying.

The family held a rally on Huron Church Road on Monday afternoon in front of the Catholic board's head offices. About 20 family members and friends lined both sides of the busy roadway holding cardboard signs that asked drivers to honk as they passed.

"It's been really hard for me because I'm getting bullied, not just by the students, but also by the teachers and principals," Anthony said at the rally, lawyer at his side.

Anthony - whose parents said has been diagnosed with ADHD, impulsivity, OCD, and an anxiety disorder - is now being home-schooled.

The claim alleges that Anthony was bullied at Tecumseh Vista Academy from September 2011 to February 2012.

It states that he was then bullied at St. Peter Catholic school.

In both cases, the claim alleges that as a result of the bullying, Anthony "sustained serious and permanent personal injuries," including injuries to his arms and head.

"These injuries were accompanied by depression, anxiety, moodiness, diminished self-esteem, and psychological injuries which continue to the present and will continue into the future," the claim reads.

The family's Burlington-based lawyer, Daniela Cervini, said both school boards were "negligent" in dealing with the alleged bullying when approached by the Aquinos.

Cervini said Anthony's parents, who work for local hospitals, attempted to sort things out with the school boards, but that they were either ignored, or the response was a "slap in the face."

She said the defendants cited in the claim were "very highhanded" and "very arrogant" in their dealings with the Aquinos.

Cervini said the damages - $2 million - being asked in Anthony's name will make up for the "pain and suffering" he's allegedly experienced, as well as cover future therapy costs.

Anthony Sr. said that his son has been seeing a neuropsychi-atrist in Michigan regularly for about four years.

According to Cervini, Anthony has had to up his therapy "because of what he's gone through at the hands of the school and the school board."

The $8 million in punitive damages cited in the claim will be a way of showing the schools that "there are repercussions for acting in certain ways," Cervini said.

The other $2 million in damages would be split between Anthony's parents, the claim states.

"None of us are in this for the money, it's to garner change," Cervini said.

Anthony's mother, Donna, agreed: "I think this is the only way we're ever going to get change. I would love to have them held accountable."

Anthony Sr. said the family was unable to find a lawyer in Windsor because "every time you call a lawyer in this city, they've defended the school board."

Cervini - who specializes in personal injury - said lawyers are hesitant to take on bullying cases because there aren't many legal precedents on which to rely.

She said she takes on bullying cases because it's an issue she cares about.

"I could care less if I get no money out of it, it's to get the schools to wake up," she said.

None of the allegations contained in the statement of claim have been proven in court.

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Story Details

Name: Anthony Aquino
Age: N/A
Country: Canada
Location: Windsor, ON
Gender: Male
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