Jury finds Volusia School District not negligent in bullying case

Dondre Jones says Holly Hill students pulled his pants down, punched, kicked him

DeLAND, Fla. - A jury on Tuesday ruled that Volusia County schools were not negligent in the case of a teen who says he was attacked and bullied at Holly Hill Middle School.

Dondre Jones, 14, took the stand on Monday and said a group of students punched and kicked him in the locker room and then pulled down his pants. He says they took pictures of him without clothes on and threatened to post them on the Internet.

On the stand, he told the jury about the incident and shot down claims by the school district's attorney that the group was goofing around.

"Do you think this was a group engaging in horseplay?" the attorney asked Jones.

"No, it was an attack," Jones replied.

The attorney also went through several incidents throughout Jones' school years in elementary and middle school, where he got into trouble for bullying other students, including an instance in which school leaders claim Jones threw urine on another student.

He told the court the claims were all false.

"I don't even remember ever swearing in my life," Jones said.

Once Jones' attorneys rested their case, lawyers for the Volusia County school district called Jones' teacher from his pre-K class to the stand, where she told a different story.

"He would get angry, and when we would give him directives or instructions, he would say, 'Shut up, bitch,'" she said.

Jones' mother, Melissa, filed a lawsuit against the Volusia County school district in 2011 after the locker room incident, claiming school officials did nothing to stop the violence against her son.

"I'm doing this so every parent knows this is a problem," she said on the stand last Thursday.

An area superintendent for Volusia County schools testified last week that the school district has taken new steps to make sure everyone is more aware of bullying on campus.

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