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Attorney: Bullied teen denied homework

Tuesday, March 29, 2011 1:32 AM EDT



MIDDLETOWN — After weeks home from school because of bullying from her classmates, Monique McClain has been unable to obtain any homework assignments from the Board of Education, her attorney said Monday.

Attorney Sally Roberts, who represents McClain and her family, said she has resorted to hiring a state marshal to pick up the assignments so McClain can stay caught up in school.

State marshals are peace officers who can be independently contracted, usually to deliver lawsuits and other legal documents. State Marshal Susan Voigt, whom Roberts has hired, said she plans to stop by the Board of Education sometime Tuesday morning.

Roberts accused Board of Education attorney Christine Chinni of “complete and utter uncooperation” in allowing Monique to access educational services. She informed Chinni on Monday that a marshal would pick up McClain’s homework the next day.

Chinni did not return a call seeking comment Monday.

McClain has been out of school since January because of bullying from her fellow students at Woodrow Wilson Middle School. Her family says the bullying began when she started seventh grade in September and continued for months.

Since pulling her out of school, Monique’s mother, Alycia McClain, had picked up and dropped off her homework each week. But on March 18, Roberts said, Woodrow Wilson Principal Charles Marqua referred the McClains to the school board offices across the street to pick up assignments. Marqua could not be reached for comment.

Alycia and Monique’s grandmother, Alexa McClain, have been pushing for the Board of Education to provide a tutor for Monique, since the school system has been unable to protect her in school. The tutor, Roberts explained, would be a temporary measure until Monique could be placed in a private school, at the board’s expense.

Roberts accused the board of “deliberately blocking their requests,” saying the board never even set up a meeting with her and the McClains.

“The BOE is stonewalling at the expense of a child’s education,” Roberts said, calling the situation “appalling.”

So Monique doesn’t fall too far behind in school, Roberts said she’s encouraged her to take a full bag of books from Russell Library every week and keep track of what she’s reading. That way, Roberts said, “Monique can continue her education, despite the stonewalling of the BOE.”

While Monique has been taking boxing classes at the Lion’s Den and spending time with the North End Action Team, her mother said she’s spent most of her time since leaving school at home, bored and lonely. Earlier this month, Monique had the chance to meet with professional boxer Sergio Martinez, who dedicated a championship fight to her. Alycia McClain said that occasion was one of the few times she had seen her daughter smile in months.

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SAR Itr re State Marshal to pick up Monique McClain's Homework Packet.pdf



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