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Yukon school district settles civil lawsuit with former vocational-agriculture students

The Yukon School Board voted 4 to 1 Monday night to settle with two women, who are now in college, in their bullying suit.
by Andrew Knittle Modified: May 8, 2014 at 4:59 pm •  Published: May 7, 2014

Two women who claim they were bullied by teachers and students at Yukon High School during the 2010-11 school year will be paid $110,000 as part of a settlement reached with the fast-growing school district.

The Yukon School Board voted 4 to 1 on Monday night to settle with the women, who are now in college.

Yukon Public Schools Superintendent Jason Simeroth said the school district will pay the women $100,000. The other $10,000 will come from former Yukon agriculture instructor Eric Bilderback’s insurance company, Simeroth said.

The names of the women are not disclosed in court records. The civil lawsuit was filed by the women’s mothers, Debbie Wright and Dana Soupene, in November 2012.

Wright said her daughter and the other former student continue to face harassment and bullying, even years later.

The lawsuit, which remains pending in Canadian County District Court until a judge approves the out-of-court settlement, accuses former Yukon FFA instructors and several students of harassing and bullying the two women during the 2010-11 school year.

According to the lawsuit, the women were targeted by fellow students and at least three former agriculture instructors after Wright and Soupene helped to uncover misconduct and fraud within the Yukon vocational agriculture program.

At the time of the alleged bullying, Wright and her husband, Randy, discovered that Jason Bow, a former Yukon agriculture instructor who resigned his position in May 2011, had overcharged her daughter for a show steer by roughly $4,000. Other district parents also had been overcharged, court records show.

Bow last month pleaded no contest to two counts of embezzlement, drawing two years of probation but no jail time.

Other former Yukon agriculture instructors who are named in the bullying lawsuit have moved to other schools. Tim Herren went on to take a similar position at Cushing schools. Bilderback, who briefly worked for Yukon Public Schools around the time of the alleged bullying, has since moved on to El Reno 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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