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Family sues Bellevue School District, claims district did not do its part to make campus a safe environment

A Bellevue student says he went from loving school to being afraid to go. He says false allegations and the harassment that followed are the reasons why.

BELLEVUE, Wash. — At Newport High, one student said he will no longer be quiet.

"I am not swapping school districts. I'm not going to avoid the problem,” he said. 

His family is filing a lawsuit against the Bellevue School District. The student is a minor and asked that we only refer to him by his initials, C.S.A. With his parents by his side on Wednesday, he explained what happened in 2021 after a breakup with his girlfriend.

"It ended naturally, pretty quickly,” he said.

According to C.S.A, what followed was harassment on campus. He brought allegations to the school about one incident where he said his ex-girlfriend, who was also a student, smeared ketchup on his car and hit him. When she was confronted by administrators, he said she made her own allegations.

"Something along the lines of me pushing her or hitting her,” he said.

He calls that allegation false. A complaint filed in King County Superior Court on Wednesday states several independent investigations by the school and police reached that same conclusion.

"The first one proved that I was innocent. The second one proved that I was innocent and that she was guilty of harassment and bullying,” he said.

C.S.A. said from there it only escalated. The false allegations were printed in a school newsletter, posters went up saying he hits girls, and on November 19, 2021, students walked out of school, he said.

"Well over half the school was there,” he said.

"My son's name was being screamed through a bullhorn across 500 other kids who are chanting in support of a false accusation,” said Ben, the student’s father, who asked that the family’s last name not be used.

"Still, the school hasn't told the truth, and so we are just completely at a loss and that's why we hired a lawyer,” said Paige, the student’s mother.

According to their attorney, Yvonne Ward, the family has repeatedly asked the school district to share the results of the investigations, but she said that hasn't happened.

"The school let that false story keep perpetuating, creating a devastating environment for my client,” said Ward.

In an email, the school district denied our request for an interview saying they won't comment on individual students' records for their privacy and protection.

The email went on to state, “the district takes Title IX and Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying allegations very seriously and has policies that guide and assist us in supporting our students."

The statement continued, "This year, BSD students led the school community in constructive and productive conversations that highlight the opportunity to improve processes. Our students, educators, and school leaders are continuing to listen to each other and work together to learn and develop more transparent processes that support, honor and empower them and their families.”

"With social media and the internet, it is hard for him to escape it. This is going to follow him around,” said Ward.

"I'm just hoping my side of the story can get out,” said C.S.A., "People telling me to kill myself. People telling me they're going to beat the (expletive) out of me, anything like that, threats on my life. Nobody should have to go through that. And the school district did nothing to protect me. So, something needs to change."

    

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