Former Parkway HS nurse suing principal, district for retaliation in connection with student suicide

Published: Nov. 7, 2013 at 8:32 PM CST|Updated: Mar. 1, 2015 at 11:48 PM CST
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Parkway HS Sophomore Danielle Cox was 15 when she took her own life in May 2011. (Courtesy:...
Parkway HS Sophomore Danielle Cox was 15 when she took her own life in May 2011. (Courtesy: Morton family)
Jason Thomas, 18, is facing a criminal charge of criminal assistance to suicide in connection...
Jason Thomas, 18, is facing a criminal charge of criminal assistance to suicide in connection with Danielle's death. (Courtesy: Bossier City PD)

BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - A former Parkway High School nurse has filed suit against the principal, the school system and the school district's nurse coordinator, claiming retaliation for expressing concerns that nothing was done to protect a bullied student who committed suicide.

Parkway High School Principal Nichole Bourgeois, district nurse coordinator Ginger Hughes and the Bossier Parish school system itself are all named in the suit filed by Lori Rayborn, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court.

Rayborn's complaint details allegations that her concerns about Sophomore Danielle Cox being bullied were ignored, and that her supervisors retaliated when she pointed out that those concerns had been ignored after the teen took her own life. Rayborn claims she was also harassed and demoted after providing medical records as requested by the school system and Bourgeois, who are also defendants of a civil suit filed last year by the student's family.

Jessica Morton filed that suit in May 2012, claiming the school and its teachers did nothing to protect her daughter from "constant bullying and harassment" at the hands of Jason Thomas and other students. That suit is scheduled to go to trial in November of 2014. Thomas, who was 17 at the time, was ultimately charged with criminal assistance to suicide. He is accused of sending more than 100 text messages to Danielle encouraging her to kill herself. The 15-year-old took her own life on May 20, 2011. Thomas' criminal case is scheduled to go to trial in December.

Rayborn's lawsuit claims the school and the district also failed to provide Danielle Cox and all other diabetic Parkway students with accommodations required under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Rayborn says she turned over Cox's medical records to Bourgeois during a meeting in March 2012, and told her that the student's unstable blood readings and uncharacteristic behavior prior to her suicide could have all been related to the stress she was experiencing as a victim of bullying at the school.

It was after that meeting that Rayborn says the principal's demeanor and attitude toward her drastically changed, becoming openly hostile.

In addition to write-ups, Rayborn claims her supervisors limited her ability to do her job, endangered the welfare of Parkway students and ultimately forced her out with an "undesirable" reassignment to other schools.

Rayborn is seeking unspecified punitive damages.

When given the opportunity to comment on Rayborn's lawsuit, Bossier Parish schools spokesperson Sonja Bailes declined, citing policy not to comment on pending legal matters.

A phone call to Parkway High School Principal Nichole Bourgeois has not been returned.

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