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Bullying problem won't go away, family says

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A St. Johns County couple said their almost two-year fight to protect their daughter from a bully has forced them to take out a restraining order against a 9-year-old.

The couple said the bullying started in 2013 and they had to fight to get their daughter in a different school. Then they were horrified to find out that due to school zone redistricting the accused bully had been transferred to the new school.

In the past few weeks, a judge signed off on the restraining order to protect Patrick and Megean Naughton's 9-year-old daughter from a 9-year-old boy who they say has been verbally and physically bullying their daughter for two years.

"It's heartbreaking to have her cry at night and have go to counseling for her. It's really heart breaking and I wouldn't ask this for anyone who has a daughter," Patrick Naughton said.

The couple said it started in 2013 at Osceola elementary in St. Augustine when they pleaded with the school board to switch their daughter's school. The family said the board told them no so they had to find a loophole.

The young girl qualified for a scholarship that got her transferred to Ketterlinus Elementary. In January the family found out that the bully had been transferred to the same school.

"He doesn't have to leave the school but we ask that he be 200 feet away at all times, simply so they're not on the playground together. So that they're not in the cafeteria together, don't go on the field trip together," Megean Naughton, the girl's mother said.

The school district said in a statement; "Rest assured we will act in the best interest of our students. This is an issue of ongoing litigation where the parents are involved in a civil lawsuit and are all represented by legal counsel. It would be inappropriate and unlawful for the school district to comment further at this time."

The Naughtons have said the district has been very difficult to deal with throughout their ordeal.

"Finally when she was in a happy place, here the school board just moved that child here. And it started over again," Patrick Naughton said.

The couple pointed out that while the district said there's ongoing litigation they haven't sued the school district and have just taken legal measures to protect their daughter.
 


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