An Oregon school district has agreed to pay $225,000 to three girls who claimed in a lawsuit they were bullied into sending nude photos of themselves to boys at their middle school.
The girls alleged in a 2013 “sextortion” lawsuit against the Clatskanie School District that the boys traded the embarrassing pictures like baseball cards and that school officials told them to “suck it up” when they complained.
“I feel like it made me have to fight battles I shouldn’t have to fight, especially at such a young age, but I feel it made me stronger,” one of the girls, Josi Harrison, told Fox 12 Oregon Thursday via Skype after the settlement was announced.
Harrison and the other two girls, Laura Lefebvre and Hailey Walden, told the station the bullying at Clatskanie Middle/High School started in the eighth grade when manipulative boyfriends conned them into sending the boys nude photos. The photos wound up in the hands of other boys who were older and who demanded that more be sent.
The girls said if they didn’t, the boys threatened to post the photos online and “show the world.”
To settle the lawsuit, the Clatskanie School District agreed to pay $75,000 to each of the girls, who transferred to schools in other districts when the bullying became too much to endure.
The district also agreed to form an anti-bullying committee, increase the number of school hallway monitors and prohibit the use of cellphones in classrooms.
“Yeah, I think we have cut down on bullying and intimidation and I think when you have something like this come to a district and put that lens on the district, you know, it allows us to take a look at what are we doing well, what are we working to improve on,” Superintendent Lloyd Hartley told the station.
Walden told Fox 12 in a statement that the lawsuit was never about the money.
“It was always about the change and I am relieved to see the school had implemented these changes,” she said.
Harrison added, “I just hope they realize this does happen to people and that we’re trying to make it known in school districts.”