Severe Bullying at Malibu High School and the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District's Ratification of the Conduct

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http://www.santamonicadispatch.com/2014/02/victim-becomes-villain-in-malibu-controversy/

Student vs. SMMUSD et al

SUPERIOR COURT COMPLAINT

SPECIAL INTERROGATORY NO. 13:

LIST THE FULL NAME AND JOB TITLE OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS AT SMMUSD (AND/OR MALIBU HIGH SCHOOL) RESPONSIBLE AMENDING/REVERSING CANCELING AND OR OTHERWISE MODIFYING THE DISCIPLINARY SUSPENSION OF DEFENDANT SEBASTIAN SARTORIUS ISSUED IN OR AROUND NOVEMBER 2012.

RESPONSE TO SPECIAL INTERROGATORY NO. 13:

SANDRA LYON, SUPERINTENDENT OF THE SANTA MONICA-MALIBU UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT.

SIGNED UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY AT SANTA MONICA, CA ON 12/20/2013.

SEVERE BULLYING AT MALIBU HIGH SCHOOL AND THE SMMUSD's RATIFICATION OF THE CONDUCT

A couple of incidents in the bleachers that overlook the swimming pool at Malibu High School two years ago are still reverberating through the school and the community and, ironically, the young victim has become the villain of the piece.

In November and December, 2012, on several occasions, during water polo team practice, a Varsity team player, Sebastian Sartorius committed what have been officially described as “multiple counts of battery” on a younger, smaller Junior Varsity team member who was sitting in the bleachers. On learning of the incident, High School principal Jerry Block removed Sartorius from the team.

Following the incidents, the younger boy left the team and discontinued his 9th grade

PE class. He also told officials about two previous instances in which Sartorius had allegedly roughed him up.

Not only did members of both the Junior Varsity and Varsity water polo teams continue to harass the young boy, some parents and students spread stories that the so-called victim had exaggerated, describing what was

obviously innocent water polo horseplay as serious assaults. At the same time, an on-

line campaign expressed outrage at Sartorius’ being charged with battery and suspended, and some parents threatened to retaliate by withholding contributions they’d agreed to make to the school.

In a letter SMMUSD’s school psychologist, Dr. Juliette Boewe, wrote to the boy’s parents, she said, “I am very sorry that you…are having to deal with the fallout of

(your son’s) reporting. He did the right thing by telling us and we believe him. Each of us has said that we wished he had said something much sooner.

“Unfortunately, we are not at liberty to share with parents or students what happen-

ed. And it seems to me based on what is being said that people are misinformed and underestimating what actually occurred, somehow viewing the other student as the

victim in this situation…and listening to rumors being spread by students and parents. I think that (your) response to (name withheld) was appropriate. I think that you have the right to your privacy, but you also have the right to set the record

straight to anyone who approaches you with misinformation or tries to minimize what has happened…We cannot do this for you.

“Also, in response to (your) question about the conversation with the sheriff’s officers,

(your son) just told them what happened (the teasing and name calling, the episode during homecoming week, the episode in the bathroom at the Cate game, and the episode Monday in PE). He gave a few more details.”

The hostile school environment peaked on December 6, 2012 when the entire Malibu High School water polo team (Junior Varsity and Varsity) and their parents, about 50 people in all, went to court in support of Sartorius. He was ultimately charged with two counts of battery and served six months’ probation.

While he was still on probation, Sartorius was appointed coach of the City of Malibu

D-14 water polo team by Malibu High School’s Water Polo Coach Hayden Goldberg.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Barry Fagan, Law Offices of Barry S Fagan | Attorney Advertising

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