BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. - 41 Action News Investigators have learned that the insurance company for the Blue Springs School District settled the case filed by the family of 12-year-old Brandon Myers for $500,000.
The settlement required the financial aspect to remain confidential. However, that agreement is in conflict with state open records laws requiring information about school finances to be public record.
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Information obtained under state open records laws show it was the insurance company that settled the suit for $500,000. According to the school district's attorney, the insurance company controlled the settlement.
The Myers family said this was never about money, explaining that's why the settlement also included making two administrators be retrained in bullying awareness. The settlement also requires every building in the district to hold a bullying awareness day.
Brandon hanged himself in his family's Blue Springs, Mo., home in 2007. His parents say he was driven to suicide because of the constant tormenting he faced from his classmates.
Born with a cleft palate, Brandon faced constant bullying from his classmates. When he told his parents, they responded as most parents would: By telling him to be the bigger person.
"Ignore it. You're better than that," his mom Kim Scarlett recalled telling Brandon.
The bullying was more than just teasing. Court records show on one occasion at recess, several students threatened to "fill up the hole" in Brandon's face before shoving him to the ground. They then reportedly pushed grass and dirt in his nose and mouth.
Brandon's parents encouraged their son to tell a teacher about the bullying. When he did, court records show he was told to stop being a "tattletale."
"When I tell him to do it the way he is supposed to do it, and then he does it that way and he is rebuked for it? How do I get him to believe he has any power or authority or any control over the situation," asked Randy Myers, Brandon's father.
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Myers family attorneys said their case was strengthened after they discovered the district hid key evidence -- including Brandon's journal and two suicide notes.
The suit also named another Blue Springs parent, claiming that parent drove his son to the Myers home to vandalize it. That parent reached a separate settlement with the Myers family. The financial part of that settlement is confidential, but it did include the parent writing an apology letter to Brandon's parents.