GIBSON COUNTY, Ind. (WEHT) – The grandparent and parent of a 7-year-old student have filed a federal lawsuit against the North Gibson School Corporation.
The lawsuit names Superintendent Brian Harmon, Assistant Superintendent Eric Goggins, Director of Special Education Lisa Brewer, and other special education teachers and school corporation employees.
The lawsuit says the child has been diagnosed with disabilities, including Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, and an orthopedic impairment.
According to the lawsuit, the child was often put in a 3 foot by 5 foot “seclusion room” while the door was held shut. The suit says the parents were under the impression it was timeout as typically used at home.
The lawsuit also says the child was secluded about 106 times in the 117 days she was present in the self-contained Emotionally Disabled classroom at Princeton Community Primary School North.
The lawsuit alleges the child was “was left in the seclusion room on several occasions in soiled clothes from urinating herself, once for up to 26 minutes.”
The lawsuit alleges the defendants “blatantly disregarded” Indiana law and the District’s Seclusion and Restraint Plan that allows seclusion or restraint only when a student’s behavior “poses imminent risk of injury to self or others and less restrictive interventions are ineffective.”
The plaintiffs allege that improper restraint techniques were also often used and at least once, the child was restrained while sleeping.
The lawsuit alleges the child once said she “wants to die so she does not have to live through this anymore” and that the defendants subjected her to various forms of physical and mental abuse.
The lawsuit says the North Gibson School Corporation violated the student’s rights. The suit also alleges battery, emotional distress, assault and false imprisonment.
The plaintiffs are asking for undisclosed damages, including punitive and emotional distress damages.
Eyewitness News has reached out to the North Gibson School Corporation. We were referred to their attorney. Our efforts to reach the attorney were not successful.
You can view the full documents below:
(This story was originally published on Dec. 9, 2019)