CENTER MORICHES, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A student and his parents are suing Center Moriches School District after the student says he was brutally assaulted by bullies.
Eighteen-year-old Ethan Treto, a senior at Center Moriches who also attends BOCES, claims he and others in school have been taunted and bullied by a group of athletes.
CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reports Treto is filing a $10 million lawsuit against his school district for failing to protect vulnerable students from what he calls “a clique of jocks.”
“I walked into the bathroom, and they were all standing there. There had to be at least 10 of them standing there vaping, and I went to go use the urinal and they were all standing there and they wouldn’t let me use it, so I walked back, I walked out,” he said.
Treto says he then reported the students to the security guard.
Not long after that incident, Treto says there was retaliation at a house party over Memorial Day weekend.
Treto says when he walked in, the bullies were there, allegedly drunk. Soon, he says he became the object of their anger.
He was punched, kicked and knocked unconscious. The bullies allegedly broke his nose, and he lost teeth. The incident was recorded by witnesses on cell phones.
“Somebody came up, hit me in the head with a bottle, and that’s when I was on the ground, and that’s when they did all this. That’s when they knocked my teeth out, punched my nose in and broke it. And then after all that happened, they dragged me across back to the street, back to party, as, like, a trophy. And they were picking up my teeth … holding up my teeth,” Treto said.
When he came to, Treto called for an ambulance.
He now has stitches throughout his mouth, jaw and ear, and he’s in the midst of ongoing nose and jaw surgery
“I’m hoping that the children that were involved in this — not only the ones that beat my son … the kids that are cheering on this incident, this fight, the kids that were videoing it, all of these should be reprimanded. Not attend prom, not attend graduation,” Debra Treto, Ethan’s mother, said.
“These kinds of incidents happen in schools that are supposedly being deemed safe, and yet, my son has to look like this and deal with this emotional damage that might scar him for the rest of his life,” Manuel Treto, Ethan’s father, said.
The Treto parents claim their complaints of taunting and harrassment were never addressed or remedied at the school. They say since middle school, a culture of cool kids bullying has been allowed to simmer.
“The reason we filed a notice of claim is because we’re going after the school to show that they were negligent. We’re going after them to show that they did not, that they violated their own code of conduct and they were negligent in failing to protect their students,” Kenneth Mollins, the plaintiff’s attorney, said.
The superintendent tells CBS2 he is aware of the litigation, but he is unable to comment at this time. The school district says the incident occurred “off campus.”
The alleged ringleaders of the clique were arrested for misdemeanor assault and are identified in court papers.