Parents who were arrested after allegedly encouraging their son to fight students sue school
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/Gray News) - Parents who were arrested last year and accused of encouraging their son to fight other students at a Tennessee high school, filed a lawsuit Thursday saying that their son was assaulted first and not protected by school officials, WVLT reported.
They are asking for $5,000,000 in damages, according to the lawsuit.
Knox County, the Board of Education, Farragut High School’s principal, two school resource officers and a deputy with the sheriff’s office were named as defendants in the documents.
Brent and Monica Pelusio say that their son was assaulted by a group of five athletes last September.
“During the assault, [the minor] was repeatedly hit and punched, including to his head and face,” the report said.
The next day, the parents say when they arrived to pick their son up from school, they saw him surrounded by approximately 10 or more students.
During the incident, the parents said that a school resource officer did not act at the beginning, but pepper sprayed their child once he tried to defend himself against the assault.
The school resource officer said in a 2021 police report that she was outside directing traffic when she heard and saw several students and Monica Pelusio yelling and causing a disturbance in the parking lot.
The officer said she recognized that a fight was about to start, so she ordered them to stop numerous times, but they refused. Brent Pelusio then allegedly entered the disturbance and yelled for his son to fight another juvenile, officials said.
Both parents were ordered by the officer to return to their vehicle three times but continued, and encouraged their son to fight, according to the 2021 police report.
The officer said a fight between Brent and Monica Pelusio’s child and another student broke out despite numerous orders to stop.
The parents were accused of refusing to stop their son from fighting and charged with contributing to the delinquency of a child, according to authorities.
As a result, the child and parents were arrested and charged. No members of the group were charged due to the incident, according to the documents.
The charge against the child was dismissed.
The parents have sued for a “violation of their right to be free from illegal seizure and prosecution.”
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