Lawsuit: Teacher taped shut special needs student’s mouth

Published: Friday, November 03, 2017 @ 5:15 PM

Lawsuit Claims Teacher Taped Shut Special Needs Student’s Mouth

A teacher taped shut the mouth of a 26-year-old disabled student who wouldn’t be quiet, part of a series of abuses against the woman, according to a federal lawsuit filed by the woman’s parents.

>> Read more trending news

The student’s attorney, Jonathan Marko, told reporters Thursday that over the 10 years she attended classes in the Washtenaw Intermediate School District in Michigan, she suffered “medieval-type torture,” the Detroit Free Press reported.

“She had scalding hot coffee spilled on her, leaving permanent scarring. She was locked into a bathroom by herself,” Marko said. “She was slapped in the face so loud in the school yard that the bus driver across the school yard heard it and reported it to her parents. She was bound and gagged, and she had tape put over her mouth.”

The student has cerebral palsy and cognitive disorders, according to the Free Press. She uses a wheelchair and cannot speak.

According to MLive.com, the student attended High Point School. The school is operated by WISD and serves students with disabilities. Named in the suit were a special education teacher, the school’s principal and WISD, MLive.com reported.

Among the abuses the student suffered, the lawsuit claimed that her teacher, Nesa Johnson, covered her mouth in tape, photographed her and sent a text message of the image to the student’s mother.

“Help. She won’t be quiet!!!!” Johnson wrote in the text message, according to the lawsuit.

Filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit, the lawsuit claimed that the student was “physically unable to remove the tape, has trouble breathing and clearing her throat, and breathes out of her mouth,” MLive.com reported.

"To think this is going on in today’s day and age, at an educational institution ... is abhorrent," Marko said, according to the Free Press.

He said the parents brought concerns about possible abuse to the school multiple times over the years, but each time, “The school assured them that they were taking care of it, that (the parents) were overreacting, that whatever was happening, whatever they saw or that was going on, that it was” the student’s fault, the Free Press reported. Her parents kept her at the school because they didn’t realize the extent of the abuse, according to the newspaper.

WISD spokeswoman Emma Jackson told MLive.com that Johnson no longer works for the school district, but she declined to discuss the specifics of the case.

"The Washtenaw ISD wants to assure the parents of our district that we take the health, safety, and education of all of our students very seriously," Jackson told MLive.com in a statement. "As to the subject of this lawsuit, the family did not report this, or any other complaint to the district until nearly a year after it occurred. During that subsequent year, the student continued attending school, in the same classroom, with the same teacher. When we were first informed of the family's concern, we immediately conducted a complete investigation and took appropriate remedial action."

Jackson told the Free Press that Johnson’s supervisor, Anne Nakon, is no longer employed by WISD either. It was not immediately clear if their departures were related to the allegations set forth in the lawsuit.

Nakon had previously told the Free Press that she was told about the allegations several months ago and that she “shared that I was unaware of any misconduct toward this student or any student.

“I would never condone such a behavior and, had I been made aware of or suspected any mistreatment of a student, would have immediately investigated the situation to protect the student," she said.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Preschool says 3-year-old's sundress inappropriate

Published: Monday, May 28, 2018 @ 9:59 AM

Image of child playing with toy blocks.
Pixabay
Image of child playing with toy blocks.(Pixabay)

Preschool officials in Canada deemed a 3-year-old girl's sundress to be inappropriate, leaving parents disappointed and bewildered.

>> Read more trending news 

Sadie Stonehouse told CTV News that while the sundress goes down to her daughter Lola's ankles, officials said the shoulder straps were not wide enough. School policy requires straps to be at least two inches wide, CTV News reported. 

Stonehouse said that in order for Lola to be able to wear the sundress to preschool again, school officials told her she'd have to wear a shirt underneath it. Stonehouse chose the dress for her daughter because of a heat wave the Winnipeg area was experiencing, so she said adding a layer defeats the purpose of wearing the outfit.

The mother was at a loss of how she would explain to her young daughter why she couldn't wear the dress to preschool anymore, CTV News reported.

An official at Little Years Nursery School told CTV News that the preschool follows the dress code of the area's school division, but a Pembina Trails School Division spokesperson said there is no official dress code.
 

Trending - Most Read Stories

Mother, daughter graduate college together after tragedy strikes family

Published: Saturday, May 12, 2018 @ 2:41 PM

Image of graduating students.
Pixabay
Image of graduating students.(Pixabay)

After enduring the loss of a loved one, a mother and daughter from Michigan are marking a happy milestone together.

>> Read more trending news 

Linda and Becky Dancer graduated together this month from Cleary University, WXYZ reported.

For mother Linda, the degree was completed 42 years after she began her higher education. She was prompted to join her daughter in college after her husband, Dan, died suddenly of a heart attack in 2014.

Linda told WXYZ that she worked much harder to earn the degree now than she had when she first started four decades ago.

Mother and daughter are proud of their individual and joint accomplishments. Linda hopes to increase her income and says a master’s degree may be in her future.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Ohio lawmakers could mandate students learn cursive handwriting again

Published: Tuesday, December 05, 2017 @ 1:10 PM

VIDEO: Ohio Students May Soon Have to Learn Cursive Handwriting Again

Some Ohio lawmakers want elementary school students to be able to print letters by the third grade and write documents in “legible cursive handwriting” by the time they finish fifth grade. The Ohio House could vote Dec. 5 on a bill to require a return of teaching cursive writing

>> Read more trending news

In February, Ohio House Education Committee Chairman Andrew Brenner, R-Powell, introduced a bill to mandate that kindergarteners through fifth-graders be instructed in handwriting.

RELATED: Cursive returns to Louisiana schools with new law

Schools have dialed back handwriting instruction to make more time for core academic requirements, such as helping struggling readers in first through third grades.

RELATED: What happened last time lawmakers tried to bring cursive back?

Cursive instruction is included in the state’s “model curriculum” for grades 3 and 4 and the State Board of Education passed a resolution in early 2014 in support of teaching cursive. But it isn’t a hard-and-fast requirement.

RELATED: Other states have mandated cursive for public schools

The same bill was introduced in 2015 but failed to pass before the two-year legislative session ended. Advocates of mandating cursive instruction say it helps hone fine motor skills, is needed for signing important records , and comes in handy when reading historical handwritten documents.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Parents paint uplifting messages on bathroom stalls at Texas elementary school

Published: Tuesday, March 06, 2018 @ 2:44 PM

FILE PHOTO
Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images
FILE PHOTO(Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

Looking to brighten their kids’ days, a group of parents at Mary Moore Elementary School in Arlington got together and painted uplifting messages in the school’s bathrooms, KENS5 reports

>> Read more trending news 

Colorful flowers and motivational sayings now decorate the bathroom stalls, saying things like “Your mistakes don’t define you” and “Every day is a chance to be better.” 

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

The school posted pictures of the parents’ work to Facebook

The Facebook post has since been shared nearly 158,000 times and garnered nearly 6,000 comments. 

Related

Trending - Most Read Stories