SAN ANTONIO (KSAT/CNN) - A Texas man is seeking $50,000 in damages and attorney fees from several middle students and their parents after his son was allegedly cyberbullied and called a likely school shooter.
Father Derek Rothschild says in January, a group of students at his son’s middle school started an online discussion about “who would be most likely to shoot up the school.” Rothschild’s son was voted to be a likely school shooter, according to the father.
As a result, the entire student body began to ostracize and ridicule the boy, says Rothschild’s attorney, Justin Nichols. He was also searched and interrogated by staff.
“At no time did [Rothschild’s son] have any plans, intent or desire to hurt anyone. The rumors were mean spirited, wholly false and intended to hurt [him]," Nichols said.
School administrators sent an email out to parents following the online discussion.
"They knew this wasn't a credible threat,” Rothschild said, “that it was just a bunch of rumors, but they searched him and searched the whole school and brought up the extra security anyway. I expressed that morning that this was really bullying and that I felt like the only person who was really in danger at school that day was my son."
Rothschild says after the email was sent, his son was joking with friends and made a statement for which he would have been sent to an alternative school, but the father instead removed the boy from the North East Independent School District.
The district did not conduct an investigation nor offer counseling resources to Rothschild’s son in regards to the alleged cyberbullying, according to Nichols.
Rothschild’s current lawsuit does not name the school district, but the attorney says the father intends to file another after going through the district’s grievance process.
The district released a statement Monday saying administrators “acted appropriately” to investigate and address the situation.
“The district made it clear at the beginning of the school year that all threats against schools would be subject to disciplinary action,” read the statement in part.
Rothschild’s lawsuit is believed to be the first filed under David’s Law, a Texas state law named after David Molak, an Alamo Heights teenager who committed suicide in 2016 after being cyberbullied.