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Yukon bullying lawsuit tied to school district's FFA program

Two parents are suing Yukon Public Schools for negligence in Canadian County District Court, alleging school officials didn't do enough to protect their children from bullying and harassment within the district's FFA program.
by Andrew Knittle Published: November 6, 2012

Two parents are suing Yukon Public Schools for negligence, alleging school officials didn't do enough to protect their children from bullying and harassment within the district's FFA program.

A lawsuit filed Friday afternoon in Canadian County District Court claims the children of Debra Wright and Dana Soupene, who are now high school seniors, were harassed and bullied by fellow students and former vocational agriculture instructors after an investigation into Yukon's FFA program.

The suit claims the two 17-year-old girls were targeted because Wright, her husband and Soupene discovered a former agriculture instructor was “skimming” on livestock purchases.

An investigative audit into the district's FFA program uncovered numerous instances of possible misconduct and confirmed that some instructors were charging some parents more than they paid for livestock, a practice known as “skimming.”

District Superintendent Bill Denton said Monday afternoon that he had not seen the lawsuit, but said he is well-aware of the circumstances described in the court documents.

“We investigated these allegations back two years ago,” Denton said of the allegations of bullying. “And we've given them, numerous times, the documentation of that investigation. So, I have no idea what legitimacy comes with this type of lawsuit … this type of legal action.”

Denton also expressed frustration with Wright and her husband, Randy, who have numerous open records requests pending with Yukon Public Schools. The couple also recently won an $18,000 judgment from the district for attorney fees related to an open records lawsuit.

The Wrights had been seeking a copy of the investigative report into the district's FFA program.

“It's getting very tiring, and it's creating a lot of tension in our school and in our community,” Denton said of the latest lawsuit. “We are taking people off their regular jobs to work on these requests … so they're not doing their jobs.”

The lawsuit filed Friday alleges that Wright's daughter, who has since transferred schools, was harassed by former Yukon agriculture instructors while she was showing an animal at the Tulsa State Fair.

The lawsuit also claims that Yukon school counselors encouraged the girl on “multiple occasions that it would be best for her to transfer schools.”

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by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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