Couple sues WJCC Schools for second time

The couple whose civil suit against Williamsburg-James City County Schools was dropped in April on a technicality is suing the division again.

John and Sandra Magda filed their first civil claim for money Jan. 3, asking for $25,000 for legal fees and damages resulting from bullying, according to Williamsburg-James City County General District Court documents.

"We took our lessons learned from the past and are moving forward," John Magda said. "It's all about Emma, it's not about us of course, just trying to make that resolution complete."

They are still asking for $25,000, this time for "medical and therapy costs, past and future, all due to school bullying and failure of duty in keeping minor child safe while attending school at Clara Byrd Baker Elementary School," according to WJCC court documents. They filed the new suit May 12.

This time they filed the suit in their 11-year-old daughter's name, Emma — correcting the reason Judge Colleen Killilea dismissed their original suit April 24. She said that by filling as themselves, not as Emma, the Magda's didn't have any standing to sue the schools.

Killilea made clear that was the only reason for dismissal, writing on the case's warrant in debt, "other points raised in defendant's demurrer are/were not considered by the court."

In the documents filed with the couple's first case, the Magda's claim their daughter was bullied by another student at Clara Byrd Baker while she was in third grade, and the division didn't properly handle the bullying.

School board chairwoman Kyra Cook and school division spokeswoman Betsy Overkamp-Smith both declined to comment citing ongoing litigation.

Those documents detail medical costs for Emma's counseling, which they stated total $165 for each weekly visit, and a $35 monthly cost for medication after she was diagnosed with "anxiety, acute depression and school phobia."

John Magda said the couple is planning to hire a lawyer, but they haven't done so yet.

"We didn't make this decision on our own. We told (Emma) that it was her decision whether we go forward or not and that we were completely content about moving on," Sandra Magda said. "She came back to us and said that it's okay that it has to be filed in her name because she wants her voice to be heard."

The family has a June 19 general district court date.

Williams can be reached by phone at 757-345-2341.

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