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Joy Furman, Bullied Kentucky Girl's Mom, Seeks Restraining Order Against 4th-Grade Student

By BRUCE SCHREINER 04/24/12 05:04 PM ET AP

Bullied Student Restraining Order

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A Kentucky mother who claims her 9-year-old daughter has been bullied for two school years is seeking a restraining order against a fourth-grade boy she accused of tormenting her daughter, kicking her in the chest and chasing her with scissors.

Joy Furman, the girl's mother, wants the boy to stay at least 500 feet away from her daughter. The children are classmates at Stephen Foster Traditional Academy in Louisville.

The bullying began last year when the children were third graders and has continued as they shared the same classroom as fourth graders, Ted Gordon, the woman's attorney, said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

"It's late in the school year, but she's entitled to a pleasant May," Gordon said of the girl. "She's gone through hell the last eight months."

The boy weighs about twice as much as the girl, he added.

A hearing on the request for a restraining order is scheduled for May 2 in a circuit court.

The sought-after restraining order arises from a lawsuit that Furman filed against the boy's parents or guardians, two third-grade teachers and the principal at the school. The suit claims that the boy pushed and shoved the girl and cornered her in the classroom while they were third graders. Both children are identified only by initials in the suit.

Furman met with the school counselor and her daughter was switched to another third-grade class that school year. There also was an understanding that the two children would not have any further contact, the suit said.

But in late May last year, the two children ended up on the playground at the same time, the suit said. The boy confronted the girl and kicked her in the chest, knocking her down and injuring her sternum, it said.

The two were placed in the same fourth-grade class, and the bullying has continued, including pushing and shoving in the lunch line, Gordon said. He said the threats became "increasingly hostile," and at one point the boy chased the girl with scissors in the classroom. The teacher moved the girl to the front of the class and the boy to the back trying to protect the girl, according to a court filing.

Jefferson County public schools spokeswoman Lauren Roberts said the playground incident last May was "appropriately dealt with." But she said the complaint contained "vague allegations" of bullying that the district could not substantiate.

"We received no specific allegations of continued bullying until late last week," she said. "The new allegations will be investigated and appropriate action will be taken."

Roberts declined comment about the mother's efforts to move her daughter to another class or school as her lawyer indicated.

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Filed by Emmeline Zhao  |