Lawsuit Seeks $1.5M After Peanuts Placed in Allergic Football Teammate's Locker

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A family has filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against a Texas school district, including its superintendent and athletic director, after a group of football players put peanuts in an allergic teammate’s locker last year.

As reported by Austin NBC affiliate KXAN, the lawsuit filed April 6 alleges the players knew the teen was severely allergic to peanuts, and the Lake Travis Independent School District failed to take any action to prevent bullying against the teen boy.  

The lawsuit also gives more details about the Oct. 6 incident inside the locker room, with the family alleging that two students “scattered peanuts” throughout their son’s locker and recorded the act, and one of the players “threw peanuts at him.”

The teen allegedly told his teammates that putting peanuts in his locker and on his uniform could result in his death and that he showed them the epi-pen he carries as a precaution.

“When he retrieved his uniform, he found it, along with his cleats, covered in peanuts, which triggered an allergic reaction,” the lawsuit stated. “Since [the student] did not ingest the peanuts or wear the contaminated uniform, he did not require emergency medical treatment.”

In a statement to KXAN, the district said it disagreed with the lawsuit.

“We take all allegations of bullying and harassment seriously. We responded immediately when we learned of this situation, conducting a thorough investigation,” Lake Travis ISD officials said. “The safety of our students and staff is our highest priority.”

KXAN also contacted the Lake Travis ISD employees named in the lawsuit, but none have commented.

As previously reported, the district did not initiate a bullying investigation until after the student’s parents testified at a November school board meeting more than a month after the incident happened. The district determined the incident did not meet the legal definition of bullying under the Texas Education Code, which defines bullying as “an act or pattern of acts that physically harms a student or materially disrupts the educational process.”

According to KXAN's Kelly Wiley, the lawsuit claims the student’s mother, Shawna Mannon, had already met with the Lake Travis ISD superintendent before that school board meeting, and “the district failed to address the ongoing bullying issues.”

The suit also claims the student’s mother met with the high school’s assistant principal days after the incident and was told any disciplinary actions would be handled by the athletic director, who is also the high school’s head football coach. The family told KXAN that the students involved were benched from playing in two football games.

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