18-year-old college freshman Sawyer Rosenstein won $4.2 million in a lawsuit against the Ramsey Board of Education from a punch from a bully when he was 12.
The punch knocked Rosenstein to his feet and days later a blood clot that formed burst leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
Scoliosis complications and 19 surgeries later resulted in spinal fusion. Rosenstein faced death several times.
The Rosensteins filed a lawsuit in 2009 against the school board and the boy who punched Sawyer. The family claimed the bully had punched students before and had a violent streak and the school should have acted earlier against the bully. The family sued the bully’s family two years ago and the settlement in that case was confidential.
Rosenstein said, “I don’t want it to be ‘woe is me’ and sympathy. I want it to be more of a story of success that even with all this, I was still able to prevail,” he said. “I want people to root me on in whatever I’m doing and help me through it.”
The board denied allegations that it or its employees had “failed or compromised its responsibility to develop and to implement effective policies and procedures to protect the safety and rights” of the school community, the statement continued, noting that the district “prides itself for the role which it has played in recognizing and developing an awareness of the dangers of bullying, intimidation and harassment in the school setting.”
Rosenstein wants to be a reporter and attended and reported on a space shuttle launch recently.
He wants people to know that “this is an issue, this is something that needs to be taken care of. and this kid has taken something terrible and made something great out of it. I can do the same.”
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