Long family reacts to dismissal of bully death lawsuit
CHATSWORTH, GA. (WRCB) -- Tina and David Long sit down with Channel 3 just days after a federal judge dismissed their lawsuit against the Murray County School System, citing no evidence of deliberate indifference.
"To say we lost, we haven't lost," says David. "Our fight has just begun and will continue. Here we are, two and a half years after Tyler's death and the same thing that happened to Tyler is continuing to happen in that school system."
"We knew that if we got this out in the public, that we could bring awareness to the fact that the schools aren't doing enough to protect our kids," Tina says.
The Longs were prepared for an uphill battle but fear the judges ruling Monday shows schools have immunity when it comes to classroom bullying.
"What are these parents going to do? Where are they going to go," asks Tina.
However, as one door closes another opens.
"And if it closes behind us, we'll step through another door and will continue until we get where we need to be," David says crying.
School official Mike Tuck prepared the following statement but would not answer our questions:
"The case and the circumstances surrounding Tyler Long's death are certainly tragic, however the court's recent decision affirms the case against the district and Gina Linder were groundless, merit less.
Everyone involved in the system did the best they could as we do for all our students. It is our hope that moving forward, that the community can come together as one to try and provide what's best for our students going forward."
The Longs lost in court but plan to take their fight to the voting booth, by campaigning against some current school board members.
"If we don't make the change then we're saying that this culture is ok here in this community," says David.
The Long's attorney, Winston Briggs, tells Channel 3 he was shocked and disappointed by the judge's ruling.
They haven't made a decision whether to appeal. Late Wednesday, Tina Long issued this statement:
"We are shocked and saddened by the judge's dismissal of our case and Tyler's life. The judge found that Tyler was subject to severe and pervasive harassment as a result of "severe, nearly constant bullying". He also states negligence on the school's part. From the beginning, we have vowed to keep Tyler's voice alive. Our goal is to create change. Our children must be protected between the walls of our schools. How many more lives will be lost due to bullying before the laws are changed and our children are safe? Please join us in our fight to protect our children. Our children are crying for help. It is time to listen and take action."
- Read Judge Harold Murphy's decision here.
- FIRST ON 3: Judge rules against Long family in bully death lawsuit