Mother Files Lawsuit Against Seattle Public Schools For Caging Her Son
A Florida mother who claims that her child was put into a cage and mocked by the other children has filed a lawsuit against Seattle public schools saying that they violated his civil rights and intentionally inflicted emotional distress. The lawsuit accuses the school district of forcibly restraining him in a cage, discriminating against him based on race and disability, and failing to properly protect him from the other students.
According to the plaintiffs, the district knew about the abusive tactics employed by the school district but failed to act until a myriad of parents began voicing their objections. The principal of the school was relieved of his duties after the complaint became public.
The plaintiff is a child with ADHD, PTSD, anxiety, and depression who also has sensory issues and physical disabilities. According to the lawsuit, the child’s mother, who is an abuse survivor, said that the boy started to have problems when the family became temporarily homeless. At about the same time, the boy was placed into a cage that was “guarded” by the principal. In other words, he was not being educated.
On the other hand, staffers told the press that the boy was prone to outbursts, tantrums, throwing things, threatening people, and running around the school. In response, the principal began locking the boy in a cage during school hours. Others would look at the boy “like an animal in a zoo”.
An attorney for the plaintiff says that if the school could not meet the needs of the child, it was their responsibility to make that known to the parents. They did not have the right to deprive the boy of an education or leave him locked in a cage for hours on end. The child was forced to sit on cold pavement and each his lunch alone, the complaint says. Teachers and staff members who complained about the boy’s treatment were ignored.
In the parlance of the law, the school is being accused of intentionally inflicting emotional distress. It is also believed to be a civil rights violation because the boy was one of the few black students in a mostly white suburban district. Further, the fact that the boy was disabled and mistreated because he was disabled is a civil rights violation.
While the principal took the blame for the abuse, it is believed that a district official came up with the idea because the school lacked an isolation room. Nonetheless, the enclosure was padlocked, chained, and cold with no place for the boy to sit. Special education officials approved the measure, the principal indicated. That, however, did not save his job.
The school district is also blamed for failing to provide legal notice to the mother that the boy had been isolated, which is a violation of procedures and the law.
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