student at elite prep school bullied into leaving

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Ravenclawgurl
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15 Dec 2008, 12:19 pm

http://www.1010wins.com/pages/3476434.php?contentType=4&contentId=3196184

Suit Alleges Hazing at Exclusive Conn. Prep School


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- The bullying came in classes, at school dances and a dorm room by girls who called themselves ``Oprichniki,'' the name of a Russian attack squad notorious for torturing suspected enemies of a 16th-century czar.

Alice Stockton-Rossini reports.

After months of harassment, Tatum Bass says a cruel clique at the elite all-girls Miss Porter's School wore her down so much that her parents traveled from South Carolina to comfort her, and two doctors advised her to leave the exclusive boarding school for a while.

Then, according to a scenario described in court papers, her teen tormentors delivered a parting blow: Returning to her dorm room one afternoon to pack a few possessions, the senior found her belongings crammed into a corner and a ``For Rent'' sign placed on her bed.

Two weeks later, Bass and her parents fought back: They sued the Farmington school, alma mater of such luminaries as Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis and Gloria Vanderbilt, and its headmaster in federal court.

Their lawsuit alleges Miss Porter's School failed to protect her from the bullying and notified Bass in November that she would be expelled.

Katherine Windsor, the school's head and a defendant in the lawsuit, said in a written statement Wednesday that it would be ``inappropriate for us to discuss this matter publicly.''

``The claims in the lawsuit as portrayed in the media will be defended vigorously, and we believe that a comprehensive hearing of the facts will result in the exoneration of our school,'' she said.

Messages were left Wednesday for Bass's attorney and family. The lawsuit was first reported Wednesday by The Hartford Courant.

None of Bass's fellow students are named in the lawsuit, which says the harassment stemmed from her proposal as the student body's activities coordinator to hold a multi-school prom with nearby schools.

Miss Porter's, founded in 1843, is among the nation's most selective and exclusive all-girls boarding schools. Its alumnae have gone on to become noted diplomats, performers, socialites, public servants and writers.

The annual tuition is nearly $43,000 for boarding students and about $33,000 for ``day students,'' who live within driving distance of the Farmington campus, about 10 miles west of Hartford.

The school, housed in a series of historic buildings set amid a New England village in a wealthy region of Connecticut, is among an elite group of posh private institutions considered feeder schools for the Ivy League.

Like Bass, two-thirds of the approximately 330 students at Miss Porter's this year are boarders who come from 22 states and 20 countries.

Bass, who enrolled as a freshman three years ago from her hometown in Beaufort, S.C., was also on a successful path before the harassment started this fall, her lawsuit says.

The honor student played school sports, was active in extracurricular groups and even was elected by her peers to the ``Nova Nine,'' the nine top student government spots.

But everything changed when she proposed the controversial prom, Bass alleges.

She says the girls turned on her, calling her ``stupid'' and targeting her with profanities, insults and intimidation.

She says she was bullied in front of hundreds of people at a school dance, in classes, around campus and online on the Facebook social networking site.

The bullying also included harassing text messages and widespread claims and taunts that she was ``retarded'' because she has attention-deficit disorder, the lawsuit says.

``This was the first time that negative attention was drawn to her disability at (the school),'' the lawsuit says.

``Oprichniki members were at the forefront of taunting Tatum in class and advising others about her disability.''

Bass says that in the depths of the harassment, she uncharacteristically cheated on an art history test, then was so wracked with guilt that she approached the headmaster to confess, only to encounter stepped-up bullying when she returned from her three-day suspension.

``(Her) emotional stress and anxiety became overwhelming ... Tatum sought medical treatment for stress and anxiety and ultimately was recommended for medical leave by two physicians,'' the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit says Miss Porter's and Windsor inflicted long-term damage to Bass's academic career by notifying at least one college about the suspension without giving her a chance to give her side.

The expulsion threat occurred soon afterward, when she tried to complete her studies off campus at the doctors' advice.

That's when she discovered the school had blocked her from communicating with teachers or handing in class assignments by freezing her Intranet and e-mail access, the lawsuit says.

The school deemed her absences ``unexcused,'' citing the time away from campus and ``violations of school rules'' as reasons for the pending expulsion.

Her status with the school was unclear Wednesday, but her lawsuit says she needs to finish only one class to have enough credits to receive her diploma.

Bass is asking a judge for an injunction barring Miss Porter's from sharing her academic status with colleges to which she has applied.

She and her parents also are asking the court for unspecified financial damages against the defendants, and reinstatement to the school in good standing so she can graduate.

TM & Copyright 2008 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO & EYE Logo TM & Copyright 2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. TheAssociated Press contributed to this report.


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history_of_psychiatry
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15 Dec 2008, 12:28 pm

That is very common of prep schools. The kids' preppy parents don't raise them correctly so they end up being snobs.


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15 Dec 2008, 12:48 pm

Ravenclawgurl wrote:
She and her parents also are asking the court for unspecified financial damages against the defendants, and reinstatement to the school in good standing so she can graduate.


Good luck, sweetheart. :roll:



release_the_bats
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15 Dec 2008, 3:07 pm

history_of_psychiatry wrote:
That is very common of prep schools. The kids' preppy parents don't raise them correctly so they end up being snobs.


Some parents actually encourage their children to be snobs, bully the least popular kids, and climb as high on the social hierarchy as they can. I saw this at prep schools I attended (which weren't anywhere as fancy as that one, but they were in the south . . . ).

They're being prepared for success in world of large corporations and country clubs - prep schools for adults.



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15 Dec 2008, 3:30 pm

That's just awful. I hate bullies!! !

I hate snobby bullies even more! Just WHAT gives some people the idea that good looks and financial fortune give them the right to treat others like crap?!?! I hope those people lose everything in the credit crunch, then get struck down with a massive plague of acne all over them, so all their former victims can have a good laugh at them!

AARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH, some people annoy me SO MUCH!


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15 Dec 2008, 5:37 pm

They're just sadists. I hope their parents are happy they've raised monsters.



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15 Dec 2008, 9:26 pm

Quote:
They're just sadists. I hope their parents are happy they've raised monsters.


These are also tomorrow's leaders, movers and shakers. And yesterday's students are today's. Mmm.



15 Dec 2008, 9:38 pm

release_the_bats wrote:
history_of_psychiatry wrote:
That is very common of prep schools. The kids' preppy parents don't raise them correctly so they end up being snobs.


Some parents actually encourage their children to be snobs, bully the least popular kids, and climb as high on the social hierarchy as they can. I saw this at prep schools I attended (which weren't anywhere as fancy as that one, but they were in the south . . . ).

They're being prepared for success in world of large corporations and country clubs - prep schools for adults.



Sick!



release_the_bats
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15 Dec 2008, 10:45 pm

Spokane_Girl wrote:
release_the_bats wrote:
history_of_psychiatry wrote:
That is very common of prep schools. The kids' preppy parents don't raise them correctly so they end up being snobs.


Some parents actually encourage their children to be snobs, bully the least popular kids, and climb as high on the social hierarchy as they can. I saw this at prep schools I attended (which weren't anywhere as fancy as that one, but they were in the south . . . ).

They're being prepared for success in world of large corporations and country clubs - prep schools for adults.



Sick!


Yes, their parents are raising them with the hopes that they'll grow up to be like this scary woman:

Image



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16 Dec 2008, 10:14 pm

Bullies are a product of their home, most of the time. I had to put up with it during my preteen years and it was hell. But from what I see today (thanks to facebook) many of them really haven't changed all that much, sad.


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release_the_bats
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17 Dec 2008, 4:09 pm

Yes, I've noticed that most of the "popular" kids who bullied me at prep school really did go on to get high-paying corporate jobs, "marry well", have pretty babies, live in "nice" neighborhoods, and so on, while most of the nerds ended up as impoverished PhD students, people with low-paying yet interesting jobs, and people who do menial blue collar jobs while doing art or music or something on the side as a hobby.

But then I consider that while these preppy bullies are now rich, their lives appear relatively boring, and they have extremely boring taste in music and other things.

This actually makes me proud to be a nerd - even though I've never had much of any money or material possessions or social status, my life has been very interesting and remains so. In the long run, it's been worth it from my perspective. Nerds FTW!



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18 Dec 2008, 3:29 am

Sounds to me like this girl got caught cheating on an exam and the school put her on academic probation as a result. And since colleges usually ask to be notified of stuff like that, the school told them that the girl had been caught cheating and suspended. Then this girl's family decides to sue the school claiming that this all happened because of bullying and are essentially trying to get her out of the pile of deep **** the girl got herself into (can't get accepted into an ivy with a blemish like cheating on your record, especially if you got caught your senior year). I think it's a shame she got treated like that, but it's my intuition that tells me that this lawsuit isn't really about her being bullied as much as it is getting her into Harvard or Yale or wherever she applied to.



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18 Dec 2008, 5:53 am

release_the_bats wrote:
history_of_psychiatry wrote:
That is very common of prep schools. The kids' preppy parents don't raise them correctly so they end up being snobs.


Some parents actually encourage their children to be snobs, bully the least popular kids, and climb as high on the social hierarchy as they can. I saw this at prep schools I attended (which weren't anywhere as fancy as that one, but they were in the south . . . ).

They're being prepared for success in world of large corporations and country clubs - prep schools for adults.


QFT.

It is encouraged in many high class schools.

Not all children are raised like that but a good proportion of them I've run into used money like it was grown on a tree.

I guess their parents don't teach them the value of money or common ethics that ago along with being in the real world. Sad thing is, many that can afford to fail in college are usually the ones that end up with the good jobs.


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18 Dec 2008, 11:00 am

history_of_psychiatry wrote:
That is very common of prep schools. The kids' preppy parents don't raise them correctly so they end up being snobs.


The parents don't raise them at all. They pay other people to raise their children for them.



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18 Dec 2008, 1:01 pm

Girls don't have to be preppy and rich to be bullies. I went to a school in the country in tenth grade, and the girls there (who were all poor and I was pretty much the opposite) were horrible to me. I really hate that stereotype where people think that all preppy girls are spoiled brats. Because most of what I've seen has been the complete opposite.