Allege Principal, School Did Nothing As Stephen Patton Bullied For Years – Prestonsburg, KY ( — A Kentucky family has sued the principal of Allen Central Middle School in Floyd County, Kentucky, and school district officials for the bullycide of their 13-year old son. Stephen Lawrence Patton, an 8th grader at Allen Central Middle School, died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the head on November 28, 2007. The parents, Sheila and Lawrence Patton, allege that the school knew or should have known about the repeated and systematic harassment and bullying of their son, but did not alert them and did nothing to stop it.

“There was no excuse why we weren’t told this was going on with our child,” Sheila Patton said. “When we send our children to school, we believe they are going to be taken care of. If they allowed this to happen to my child, it could happen to others.”

According to the Pattons, they only learned of the harassment and bullying Stephen was subjected to after his death when students and teachers told them about Stephen’s treatment by bullies. Stephen was unusually tall for his age, spoke with a stutter, and wore black cowboy boots to school each day, all of which, the Pattons were told, made Stephen a target. Students also told the Pattons that bullies took Stephen’s lunch almost every day.

The Pattons’ attorneys, Vanessa Cantley and Jasper D. Ward of the firm Bahe Cook Cantley & Jones, PLC ( filed a Complaint in Floyd County Circuit Court on June 2, 2008, naming Allen Central Middle School Principal Davida Bickford, a Floyd County Superintendent, and multiple unknown teachers and staff of Allen County Middle School who may be liable.

“What happened to Stephen and to Sheila and Lawrence Patton is a tragedy,” Cantley said, “and it could have been prevented if the school had simply followed their own policies and procedures designed to prevent harassment, abuse, hazing and bullying.”

Cantley and Ward also represent families who have filed bullying lawsuits in Meade County and Oldham County, Kentucky.

Footer: Quotations courtesy of the Lexington Herald-Leader