Marion, N.Y. – The Marion Central School District has settled a lawsuit filed by a student and his mother over the district’s response to alleged bullying.
The lawsuit was filed in December by Traci Lanzone and her son and claimed relentless bullying that didn’t stop despite more than 30 complaints to school officials. The son’s name was not made public in court documents, though Lanzone gave an interview to 13WHAM about the situation.
The school district denied 13WHAM News’ Freedom of Information request for the settlement, citing a confidentiality agreement. The district’s outside legal counsel further explained the settlement couldn’t be made public because it would violate student privacy laws. She said it was a small settlement and would not impact taxpayers.
Robert Freeman, an opens records expert with the New York State Committee on Open Government, said the settlement should be made public with the student’s personal information redacted. He said there is a lot of case law showing governments cannot keep legal settlements quiet.
“The courts have uniformly said you can’t do it…Confidentiality agreements are meaningless. The taxpayers are footing the bill. We’re talking about a phenomenon that’s of great interest to the public,” Freeman said.
Lisa Dye would like to know the details of the settlement. Her daughter has repeatedly complained of bullying. “We can’t be proactive if we don’t know the whole story,” she said. “It’s very personal for me and I think we need to know more about what has happened with this lawsuit.”