Family of Teen Found Dead in Gym Mat Sues School

Suit focuses on principal, superintendent, and Board of Education
By Shelley Hazen,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2014 11:59 AM CDT
Family of Teen Found Dead in Gym Mat Sues School
Kenneth and Jacquelyn Johnson stand next to a banner on their SUV showing their late son, Kendrick Johnson.   (AP Photo/Russ Bynum)

The parents of Kendrick Johnson, who was found dead in a rolled-up exercise mat in the gym of his Georgia high school last year, have filed a second lawsuit against the school. This one accuses the Lowndes High School principal, the county Board of Education, and the local superintendent of indifference to attacks made on their son by a white student, CNN reports. Johnson, 17, was black. According to the suit, Johnson was attacked multiple times, including at least once while school staff allegedly looked on, and also "subjected to undeserved punishment, humiliation, and various forms of mistreatment by members of the (football) coaching staff," causing him to quit the team. The older brother of the student who allegedly attacked him also threatened Johnson, the suit says.

The suit claims the school was aware of the problems and that Johnson's mother had complained to staff, and that their “failure to act despite actual knowledge that Kendrick Lamar Johnson was being harassed departed from (the school’s) own established procedures dealing with harassment and mistreatment, including racial discrimination." The family's previous lawsuit against the school accuses it of negligence and claims it violated the teen's right to equal protection based on race. Johnson’s death has officially been ruled an accident, but his parents believe otherwise. A federal investigation continues. The Johnsons are also suing the funeral home that handled their son’s body. Click for more on the strange case. (Read more Kendrick Johnson stories.)

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