A discrimination suit has been filed on behalf of an autistic former student in the Tukwila School District, alleging district officials failed to protect him from bullying and tried to declare him a truant when his parents pulled him from classes.

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A discrimination suit has been filed on behalf of an autistic former student in the Tukwila School District, alleging district officials failed to protect him from bullying and tried to declare him a truant when his parents pulled him from classes.

The suit, filed Monday in King County Superior Court, contends the man was the victim of almost daily harassment when he was in the sixth and seventh grades by several boys at Showalter Middle School and now suffers from Anxiety Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

In the suit, the man is identified by the initials J.B.M.

The boys beat up J.B.M., shoved and pushed him, stole his books, slapped, punched and kicked him, hit him on the head with books, called him disparaging names, spit on him and poured liquids on him, the 17-page complaint alleges.

“It breaks my heart to see my son now,” J.B.M.’s mother, who identified herself only as Peggy, said at a news conference in Seattle today.

District spokeswoman Jan Lande said she couldn’t comment on the suit because it is a legal matter. But she said the district has policies in place to assure the safety of its students.

The suit seeks unspecified monetary damages for discrimination, harassment and retaliation. An earlier claim filed as a prelude to the suit asked for $1.5 million from the district.

According to the suit, J.B.M., 20, has Asperger’s syndrome, a higher-functioning form of autism.

J.B.M. thrived while attending Cascade View Elementary School in the district but encountered bullying when he moved to Showalter in 1999, the suit says.

The abuse began toward the end of his sixth-grade year and continued through his seventh-grade year, said his father, who identified himself as John at the news conference.

J.B.M. told his parents and school employees he had been harassed and his mother, a special-education instructional assistant at the school, notified school administrators, the suit says.

His mother said at the news conference that her son once told her he wanted to commit suicide.

School officials told J.B.M. to stick up for himself and no action was taken against “the bullies,” according to the suit.

Officials then took a recess away from J.B.M. when he yelled at other students and used “inappropriate language,” the suit alleges.

They also ignored warnings from an education specialist and district psychologist that J.B.M. was the victim of bullying and that the problem needed to be addressed, the suit says.

At one point, the suit alleges, J.B.M. was told not to contact his mother at school.

Ultimately, the district assigned an adult to “shadow” J.B.M. at school, but that person was untrained, wasn’t informed about the bullying and wasn’t with him at all the time, according to the suit. Once, with the adult nearby, J.B.M. was attacked during a physical-education class, the suit says.

The district finally agreed to move J.B.M. to a private school outside the district, after an independent expert recommended the action to allay his anxiety and stress, the suit says.

J.B.M. felt safe at the school but its program ended at the 10th grade, according to the suit.

District officials then demanded that J.B.M. attend Foster High School in the district, even though he would be back with boys who had bullied him and experts advised against the move, the suit alleges.

The parents objected to a plan to place him in an isolated setting and pulled him from school, prompting the district seek a court order declaring J.B.M. a truant.

A King County Superior Court judge sided with the parents and ordered an independent evaluation by an expert, according to the suit.

The expert recommended a private academy for half a day and a half-day marine biology program because of J.B.M.’s interest in the subject, the suit says.

The district objected, but an administrative law judge agreed with the recommendation.

J.B.M. missed two years of school during the process and didn’t graduate until he was 20, his parents said. He is now taking special classes at Highline Community College, while continuing to live with his parents.

His attorney, Yvonne Kinoshita Ward, said his parents, if they recover damages, would use the money for vocational and educational training for their son, as well as psychological counseling.

Steve Miletich: 206-464-3302 or smiletich@seattletimes.com