Exactly one year after four people were arrested at Farragut High School — two FHS students and both parents of one of those students, which resulted following a fight in the school parking lot after school had dismissed — those parents filed a lawsuit asking for $5 million in damages.
The lawsuit stems from an alleged incident on Sept. 14, 2021 — one day before the parking lot fight — as Brent Pelusio and Monica Pelusio claim their son was assaulted, without the “proper protection” of Farragut High School and a deputy with Knox County Sheriff’s Office, by “five athletes,” according to federal court documents.
Knox County government, including its Board of Education, along with an FHS administrator and two school resource officers, also are named in the lawsuit, which was filed last Thursday, Sept. 15.
One day after the alleged assault, on Sept. 15, 2021, Knox County Sheriff’s Office Patrol Officer Wesley Chad Coleman, who is assigned to the schools’ division according to KCSO communications director Kimberly Glenn, stated in the warrant he was called to the school by Sandra Rodgers, Knox County School Security officer, who was working at FHS.
Rodgers told Coleman she had been outside directing traffic when she “heard and observed numerous juveniles and (eventual) arrestee Monica Pelusio yelling/screaming and causing a disturbance in the parking lot.”
Rodgers also stated she believed “there was about to be a fight, so she ordered them numerous times to stop, but they refused her orders.”
At that time, Brent Pelusio became involved, according to the warrant, with Rodgers stating he “was yelling for his son to fight” the other juvenile involved.
“Officer Rodgers ordered both parents to return to their vehicle three separate times, but they refused and continued to escalate the situation and encouraged their son to engage in a fight,” the warrants report continued.
Rodgers then used pepper spray on the juveniles, who were fighting.
Knox County Juvenile Detention and Major Crimes detectives were notified, and the warrant stated the Department of Child Services also would be notified.
According to Knox County General Sessions Court warrants, Brent Pelusio and Monica Pelusio were charged with misdemeanor offenses of contributing to the delinquency of a child and disorderly conduct.
According to a KCGSC official, the Pelusio parents’ case will not be heard until May 25, 2023. Charges against their son and one other student were dropped.
When asked about the Sept. 15, 2021, incident just after it happened, FHS principal Dr. John Bartlett said he “was aware of the situation” and the “matter is a Knox County Sheriff’s (Office) issue.”
Concerning the lawsuit, County Law Director David L. Buuck said his office “never comments on pending litigation.”