As was previously reported in Thursday's edition of the Daily News, the family of Billy Lucas has filed a civil lawsuit against the Greensburg Community School (GCS) system and four employees, contending their actions led to the suicide of the 15-year-old Greensburg Community High School student nearly two years ago.
The Daily News obtained a copy of the lawsuit this week, which delves deeper into the pending litigation.
The eight page document, filed in the U.S. District Court Indianapolis Division Tuesday, was filed on behalf of Ann Lucas, Billy's mother, and it lists the Greensburg Community School Corporation, former Greensburg Junior High School (GJHS) principal Dr. Rodney King, former GJHS assistant principal and current principal David Strouse, and GJHS teachers Iris Ramp and Darci Kovacich as defendants in the case.
The suit claims Billy was "subjected to relentless harassment, ridicule and bullying" at school, over the course of several years. The suit claims these actions, which it alleges took place due to Billy Lucas' ethnicity and perception by other students that Billy was homosexual or effeminate in his mannerisms, directly led to the boy's suicide.
The suit states Billy Lucas "had a right to be free from sexual harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation while in any educational program or activity that receives federal financial assistance."
The three-fold lawsuit names the Greensburg Community School Corporation under a Title IX claim, stating the four individual defendants "had actual knowledge that (Billy Lucas) was being subjected to sexual harassment and bullying by other students."
Additionally, the suit alleges under Count II that King and Strouse were aware of Billy's treatment and failed to take "reasonable measures" to prevent the harassment from continuing.
The suit also alleges King told Lucas, "If someone beat you up, I wouldn't know whether to give him an award or suspend him."
The filing further states Ramp and Kovacich saw students bullying Billy and did nothing to stop it. The suit also claims Ramp and Kovacich participated in verbally insulting and abusing Lucas on multiple occasions.
The court documents explain that Billy Lucas suffered from Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other learning disabilities which led to Billy being placed on an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The suit maintains Ramp and Kovacich discriminated against Lucas because of his membership in "three definable classes: disability, ethnicity and his perceived sexual orientation."
Count III of the suit cites Wrongful Death on the part of the Greensburg Community School Corporation.
Referred to simply as "The District" in court documents, the suit alleges the school corporation should have known about the bullying as well as the extent to which it occurred, should have been aware Lucas was at risk of injuring himself or committing suicide, and that it failed to "exercise reasonable care" for the safety of Billy Lucas.
"The District failed to take reasonable measures to prevent (Billy Lucas) from being subjected to bullying when he was at school or a school-sponsored activity," the suit states. "As a direct result of the District's negligence, (Billy Lucas) committed suicide."
Relief sought in the suit encompasses a judgment in favor of Ann Lucas against the case's defendants, compensatory and punitive damages, attorney fees and other costs associated with the suit's action.
The suit was filed by Thomas W. Blessing, attorney for Ann Lucas, who represents Frazier Law Firm in Indianapolis.
The Daily News will have more on this story as it develops.
Contact: Brent Brown 812-663-3111 x7056