Kathleen Mulvey Sues High School, Coach Over Bullying That Caused Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The family of a former student at Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, Ill. has filed a $500,000 lawsuit against her basketball coach, and the school, for failing to intervene in the intense bullying they say gave their daughter post-traumatic stress disorder.
Kathleen Mulvey's parents say the brunt of her harassment at school came from the basketball team, where Mulvey was a player, CBS Chicago reports. The most dramatic incident cited in the lawsuit happened in June 2009, when a teammate who had been bullying Mulvey pushed her during practice, causing her to sever a tendon in her right foot.
Parents Joseph Mulvey and Ellen Hogan-Mulvey say Kathleen, and her older sister, were both bullied by their basketball teammates, and that Coach Chris Hellrung failed to intercede, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
"The coach knew it was going on," Hogan-Mulvey told CBS Chicago. "He saw it on a daily basis, he heard it."
The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court Friday, seeks more than half a million dollars in damages, which Mulvey's parents say reflects the cost of psychological treatment following her diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, surgery and physical therapy that followed her foot injury, and the $50,000 cost the family incurred to transfer their daughter to a private East Coast school, the only one that would accept a senior transfer, according to the Sun-Times.
Hogan-Mulvey told CBS Chicago the family's goal is to hold the school accountable for failing to protect their daughter, in the hopes of setting a precedent that can prevent other children from unsupportive school staff members.
"The bottom line is the evil of inaction," Mulvey's uncle, Kevin Hogan, told the station. "The adults knew about it and they just wouldn't step in and stop it."
Neither the school nor the Hellrung have responded publicly to the lawsuit.