- Associated Press - Friday, April 28, 2017

MOSS POINT, Miss. (AP) - Court records show the Moss Point School District in south Mississippi has settled a lawsuit over the death of a 7th-grader.

The parents of Lorel Ka’heim Malone say he died because school officials failed to stop other students at Magnolia Middle School from bullying him over his religion.

Financial terms of the March 29 settlement are confidential, The Sun Herald reported (https://bit.ly/2oR2gdt ) Friday.

The federal lawsuit filed by Dominic Malone and Lakenisa Nobles said their 12-year-old son died March 7, 2014 - one day after students who had bullied him since that January “attacked and assaulted him.”

School district attorney Walter Dukes declined to comment to the newspaper and he did not immediately return a call to The Associated Press on Friday. The district denied wrongdoing.

The lawsuit said Lorel collapsed on a school floor after the attack and was unconscious when paramedics found him. He died the next day at the University of South Alabama Children’s & Women’s Hospital of what the suit described as injuries “sufficient to trigger the onset on a fatal health crisis involving his heart.”

The family’s attorney, state Rep. Ed Blackmon of Canton, said Lorel died of an undetected heart condition exacerbated by stress.

The family said Lorel suffered abuse from the time he enrolled in Magnolia Middle School in January 2014. The lawsuit said he was a deeply religious child who often handed out crosses, pictures of angels and what he described as a slogan against bullying, “Be a hero, take a stand.” He was also bullied because of his clothes, size and appearance, the lawsuit said.

Lorel’s father and grandmother met several times with Joanne Pettaway, who was principal then, to describe the bullying and to request help, the lawsuit said. The suit said Lorel was moved to another class while the students they say bullied him apparently suffered no consequences.

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Information from: The Sun Herald, https://www.sunherald.com

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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