ALBANY — The father of an Albany basketball player who was bullied in June by teammates while in Florida to attend a basketball camp has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the Dougherty County School Board and Westover head basketball coach Dallis Smith.
The School System is to be served with a copy of the civil suit in which Manswell Peterson is reportedly seeking $6 million from the Board of Education and $2 million from Smith.
“We are aware of the suit being filed, but have not been officially served yet,” DCSS Superintendent Butch Mosely said late Friday. “Beyond that I really cannot comment because of pending litigation issues.”
Reached Friday, Peterson said he was not ready to comment on the lawsuits.
The bullying incident occurred in July while the westover boy’s basketball team, including Peterson’s son, were at a hotel while attending a basketball camp in Tallahassee, Fla.
The abuse allegations were made public by Peterson, and sparked an internal investigation led by Dougherty County School System Police Department Chief Investigator J.C. Phillips. His report, given to DCSS Administrative Assistant Jack Willis, stated: “The investigation revealed that the student was indeed physically and verbally abused and bullied.”
Westover Principal William Chunn issued discipline which included kicking one player off the basketball team and five days of at-home and in-school suspensions for two players, along with five-game suspensions and 25 hours of community service for the remaining four players.
Chunn later reduced punishment for two of the players, removing the five days of at-home and in-school suspensions.
Sources told The Albany Herald that the school district rejected in July a $200,000 settlement demand from Peterson, countering with a $1,000 offer than he rejected.
The suit was filed in Dougherty County Superior Court this afternoon.