Thursday, December 11, 2008
Tatum Bass was harassed out of school. A senior at the exclusive Miss Porter's School in Farmington, Connecticut, where yearly tuition is $41,100, she was the student activities coordinator on the Nova Nine, the group of seniors that governed the student body, and a perennial on the honor roll. That changed when she was expelled from the girls' boarding school this November.
The Oprichniki, a secret society on campus named after the secret police of Ivan the Terrible, set out to destroy Tatum Bass after she proposed a joint senior prom with other schools. The 13 girls in the group proceeded to defame her on all fronts, taunting her at a school dance, on Facebook, and with bullying text messages. Her attention-deficit disorder was also used to call her "retarded."
As a result, Bass missed several classes, cheated on an art history test, and was expelled after she confessed to a teacher. In September, William Bass, an insurance agency president, and Nina Bass, a pediatric psychiatrist, had flown from their home in Beaufort, South Carolina, to the school to discuss their daughter's bullying, but no action was taken by the school.
The Bass family are now suing Miss Porter's School and its head of school, Katherine G. Windsor for $75,000 in damages, a paltry sum given the schools $100 million endowment. They also want to prevent the school from alerting colleges that Tatum had applied to about her expulsion. Historically, students at Miss Porter's have favored the Ivy League.
Famous alumnae of Miss Porter's include Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis and Gloria Vanderbilt.
Miss Porter's School