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Chicago-area boy sues school over bullying

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[June 19, 2014]  By Mary Wisniewski
 
 CHICAGO (Reuters) - The mother of a Chicago-area boy who says her son was routinely punched, kicked and choked by a classmate throughout third grade has filed a lawsuit charging that the school and the parents of the alleged bully failed to protect her son from severe abuse.

Deveri Del Core filed the complaint on Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of her son Joaquin, saying he had been the victim of weekly attacks and death threats during the past year at Robert Frost Elementary School in Mount Prospect, Illinois, a Chicago suburb.

"The child committed assault and battery on my client, and I don't treat that very lightly," the mother's attorney, Joel Handler, said on Wednesday.

Del Core had repeatedly reported to the school that her son was being bullied and was assured that Joaquin would be protected, but nothing was done, according to the lawsuit.

Moreover, Handler said Del Core was fired from her job in the school's cafeteria soon after her lawsuit was filed in retaliation for bringing the complaint, which he said he planned to add to the court case.

Bullying lawsuits have been on the rise nationally in recent years, partly because of public service messages and grassroots efforts that have heightened awareness of the issue.

Community Consolidated School District 21, which includes Robert Frost, declined to comment on Del Core's firing.

Superintendent Kate Hyland said in a statement the district valued the safety of its students and staff and took bullying prevention "very seriously." But Hyland did not address the specific allegations in the Del Cores' lawsuit.

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The parents of the other student, who were named as defendants in the lawsuit, were not available for comment.

The suit sought unspecified monetary damages of more than $50,000.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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