Parents sue Texas school after daughter arrives home with rope burns around neck

A school in Waco, Texas is being sued by the parents of a 12-year-old female student following an incident in which three of her male classmates allegedly placed a rope around her neck and then dragged her around.

"It looked like somebody had ripped her neck apart and stitched it back together," said Sandy Rougely, the girl's mother, in an interview with The Dallas Morning News.

The incident reportedly took place during an overnight school trip at a ranch. Three students allegedly came up from behind the girl and placed a rope around her neck. They pulled her backwards, strong enough to yank her off her feet, which left serious rope burns on her skin. A chaperone is said to have treated the girl with Vaseline and ibuprofen, but no adult witnessed the incident. School officials did not inform the girl's mother of what happened, and she only found out when her daughter returned from the trip. 

Students disembark from a school bus outside The Ivy Apartments, Dallas, Texas October 1, 2014. | Reuters/Mike Stone

The girl's parents are suing Live Oak Classical School and Lawrence Germer, the owner of the ranch. According to The New Civil Rights Movement, the defendants are facing a $3 million lawsuit for negligence, gross negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The school, however, said that it was not a result of bullying; rather, the girl's injuries were the result of an "unfortunate accident." They said in an earlier statement that 14 boys and eight girls were playing with the rope swing attached to a tree.

"We all know anybody can allege anything in a lawsuit. That doesn't make it true," said David Deaconson, the school's lawyer. "We also need to keep in mind we've got 12-year-old kids involved, and adults need to react in a way that doesn't put the 12-year-olds' safety at risk, which many of them already have."

Levi McCathern and T.J. Jones, legal counsel for the girl's family, said, "I don't know how you can look at her neck, at the pictures and think this was anything but intentional."