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Parents Sue School Over Bullies' Butt Tattoo

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By Andrew Chow, Esq. on May 07, 2012 7:02 AM

Bullies forcibly tattooed a New Hampshire teenager's buttocks two years ago. Now the victim's parents are suing their son's school for failing to protect him from bullying, Reuters reports.

Michael and Tammy Austin filed suit against the school district in Concord, N.H., where their son was assaulted and forcibly tattooed in May 2010.

Two adults and two older students from Concord High School lured the victim, then 14, to a house near the school where they tattooed a drawing of a penis, along with the words "Poop" and a profanity, onto the boy's buttocks, Reuters reports.

The four bullies -- including two adults, then 19 and 21 -- pleaded guilty to criminal charges in 2010, and served jail time. But the victim's parents believe the bullies weren't the only ones to blame.

The Austins' buttocks tattoo bullying lawsuit blames the school district for failing to provide chaperones for their son as allegedly promised. The district also failed to protect their son from bullying -- and in fact, made things worse, the lawsuit claims.

After the bullies tattooed the victim's buttocks, they took cell phone photos and shared evidence of their crime with other students. The school then held an assembly about bullying -- after which the victim was bullied even more, his parents' lawsuit claims.

The suit also alleges the school failed to enforce its own anti-bullying policy -- an increasingly common tactic as more parents sue schools for bullying.

"The end result is [the victim] was physically assaulted with this horrendous tattoo," the parents' lawyer told Reuters. "While modern medicine will allow it to be removed to some degree, the emotional scars will live on."

But a school district lawyer pinned the blame squarely on the convicted bullies. The school "took all appropriate actions," he told Reuters.

Though the butt tattoo school-bullying suit was filed two years after the incident, that likely won't matter: New Hampshire's statute of limitations for civil lawsuits is generally three years.

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