Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Settlement in anorexia~bullying case

I have to say I was a little bit surprised by the news that a settlement had been reached in the bullying case in which a mother alleged that her daughter had been bullied into an eating disorder.
We blogged about this case almost exactly a year ago. A young teenager in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania had been bullied for nearly two years with the majority of the comments related to her weight. She developed an eating disorder severe enough to require in-patient treatment.
As we noted then and as this article that reports on the settlement notes, the bullying/eating disorder connection is a little tenuous, which is why some think it was good that this case did not see the inside of a court room. While no one is denying the severity of this girl's condition, the issue at hand was the bullying which school administrators were aware of but did not take seriously enough to intervene, according to reports.
I have to believe that the increase in media attention on bullying in the wake of the Phoebe Prince case had some kind of effect on this settlement. I've noted my queasiness over the coverage of the Prince case, but if it is raising awareness and making schools take some responsibility for past, present, and future incidents then I am glad for that, at least.

P.S. The settlement was for $55,000 and according to this blog, the amount does not make the plaintiffs very happy; in fact they said the settlement represents a win for the Pittsburgh School District. They feel it is about getting rid of the case rather than making change and acknowledging the problems that occurred.