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Teacher Sued for Injuring Special Needs Student

As reported by The Observer and other media outlets, a lawsuit has been filed against an elementary school because one of its special-needs teachers has allegedly abused students.

The attorney that filed the suit, Detroit-based Ven Johnson, said that there were two more possible lawsuits headed to court in regards to the same teacher, S.T., that allegedly abused students in her classroom at Webster Elementary School during the 2011 school year.

The current lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, is seeking over $75,000 for physical and emotional injuries suffered by preschooler J.G.

R.L., the LPS Superintendent commented, "If that's what they wish to do (parents filing lawsuits), I certainly understand that's an option for them."

LPS conducted its own internal report on S.T. Witnesses reported that S.T. slapped, yelled and laughed at the children at a time when support was expected. One instance involved allowing a student to fall, and another was placing a wheelchair-ridden student into the bathroom for up to 20 minutes for a timeout.

A parapro, also known as a paraprofessional or teacher's assistant, was also noted for spanking a child in S.T.'s classroom.

The LPS report states that on October 24, 2011, they received their first documented complaint against S.T.

On March 5, according to a social worker's direct account, J.G. was grabbed by the top of his head and jerked backwards by S.T. Once she had J.G. facing her, inches from her face, S.T. screamed "You need to listen to me."

J.G. has been disabled by hydrocephalus, also know as "water on the brain", since birth. According to Johnson the boy has endured seven brain surgeries and has had a shunt inserted in his brain.

Any severe head movement can be life threatening. Any injury can be equally damaging.

At the time of the incident the social worker reported what she saw to Principal S.M. who then reported it to C.D., the human resources chief for LPS.

Neither S.M. nor C.D., according to Johnson, did what was required by law: report the incident to Child Protective Services. Instead, S.T. was allowed to continue teaching.

LPS, Wayne RESA Center, S.T., R.L., S.M., C.D. and the parapro, N.R., are named as defendants.

The Wayne RESA center is a program that serves students from several districts.

S.T. was in charge of 12 students in all in her classroom. Of the 12 each have cognitive impairments, and some are also afflicted with physical impairments.

The day after the investigation started, April 24, the district's public safety administrator, M.S., reported the issue to the Livonia Police Department.

Warrants, requested by Livonia police from the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office, were denied and the case was closed.

In April S.T. was placed on leave. On June 18 the school board voted to recommend the state tenure commission terminate her. S.T. made the decision to resign, effective March 31, 2013, and will receive paid administrative leave up until then.

The parapro was terminated on June 13.

The suit seeks punitive damages and reasonable expenses of medical care for violating the child's rights and causing him physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, embarrassment and humiliation.

If your child, or any of your loved ones, has suffered pain or injury due to the actions of another party, you have grounds for a lawsuit. Contact a personal injury lawyer to sue for your damages!

Categories: Personal Injury