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Sunday, May 29, 2016
Family sues Central over alleged cyber-bullying
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Herald File Photo
Last year, three Merrick Avenue Middle School students allegedly spread false rumors online that a lewd video contained images of a girl who attended Merrick elementary schools before moving to a private school in seventh grade, according to a lawsuit the girl’s parents filed against the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District.
The lawsuit’s accusations of cyber-bullying focus on a YouTube video that was described in court documents as “an anonymous lewd video depicting an anonymous female engaged in a lewd act.”

According to the documents, two MAMS students “falsely represented to the school body” that the video showed the girl in question.

After learning of its existence, the girl’s father called a MAMS assistant principal on April 29, 2013, according to the lawsuit. The court filing states that he and his daughter learned of the video and the rumors swirling around it “through Internet postings” by Central District students. The video was allegedly circulated on computers and smartphones, and a third MAMS student posted a disparaging remark on YouTube as late as last June, court documents state. The comment does not now appear on the site.

The girl’s parents later testified at a hearing that neither they nor their daughter had seen the video, according to court documents.

The plaintiffs filed suit on Nov. 18. On Nov. 22, the Central District’s two middle schools — MAMS and Grand Avenue in Bellmore — held assemblies in which a Nassau County police officer spoke with eighth-graders about the dangers of cyberbullying. 

The parties are due back in court on June 18.

Separately, the family is suing the families of the three alleged bullies. The Herald Life is not publishing the names of the girl, her parents, the alleged bullies or their parents because of the students' minor status.

Before entering private school in seventh grade, the alleged bullying victim attended elementary school in the Merrick School District. According to court documents, the girl's parents and school administrators transferred her from one Merrick elementary school to another on an emergency basis in 2010-11, when she was in sixth grade. The lawsuit also states that a student, who now attends a Central District school, had, in the past, threatened the girl’s life. The parents sold their house in south Merrick when their daughter was in seventh grade, according to public records.

Merrick School District officials could not be reached for comment before press time.


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