"All the girls are equally involved in the case," Lavit said Friday. "We don't look at any one case as more important than the others."
The lawsuit claimed the girls were repeatedly verbally and physically abused while attending school. Administrators and teachers at the high school and middle school were made aware of the incidents but failed to take action to stop the bullying, the lawsuit maintained.
William Hoback, the attorney who represented the defendants, said in a statement that the settlement doesn't equate to an admission of guilt on the part of the school system and was only reached because it was less expensive than going to trial.
"Agreeing to settle was a business decision made by the schools' insurance company. It was made after the plaintiffs initiated settlement discussions and agreed to settle for an amount which would not make economic sense to reject, since continuing litigation would be very costly for both sides," Hoback said.
"If a settlement could not be reached, the Casey County school administrators and staff were looking forward to the facts being revealed at trial in March."
Superintendent Linda Hatter, Principals Tim Goodlett and Terry Price, and 10 other teachers and administrators were named defendants in the case.
The $110,000 settlement came from three sources. The school's insurance carrier paid $100,000. The city of Liberty, which employed Rex Rader, a former school resource officer named in the lawsuit, pitched in $8,000. Teacher Carmela Clark paid $2,000, according to court documents.
"That's not a huge amount, but it's not chump change, either," Lavit said of the settlement. "The case wasn't about money, it's about policy, but it's important they were remunerated in some fashion."
Lavit said the case broke new ground in the area of bullying at schools and that national experts were on board to testify if it had gone to trial. The lawsuit did draw attention to the matter, contributing to legislation and policy changes in schools.
"We hear of events of this nature every year in every school system, not just Casey County. And it's not just students being bullied. Teachers are attacked by students. It works both ways," Lavit said.
"We need definite guidelines to problems of this nature. I think we accomplished a great deal to benefit teachers, administrators and students."
Hoback, however, said the lawsuit did not lead to any policy changes.
"The schools' investigation revealed that any problems the plaintiffs encountered with other students were not bullying as that word is ordinarily understood but were typical teenage conflicts with fellow female students, usually due to petty jealousy or envy," Hoback stated.
"Contrary to statements that have previously been made in the media, no rules or procedures within the school system in regard to discipline in general, or bullying in particular, have been changed or are in the process of being changed as a result of this lawsuit.
"The Casey County school system did not and does not tolerate bullying and did not and does not condone the inappropriate manner in which these girls addressed the problems that they had with each other."