Parents Settle Restraint and Abuse Case Against School District for $5 Million

Posted on June 4, 2010


Seven students with autism were restrained and abused by their teacher in a northeastern Pennsylvania classroom over an extended period of time.  The teacher subjected her disabled students to a range of mechanical restraints and abuse, including strapping the students to chairs, hitting them, pulling their hair, and stomping on their feet.  The students were between 5 and 11 years old at the time of the abuse.

The children’s families filed a federal lawsuit against the special education teacher and her superiors, alleging they knew about the abuse but took steps to cover it up.  Two paraprofessionals in the classroom reported the teacher to her supervisors at the school district, but the officials conducted no meaningful investigation, failed to report the abuse to police, and merely shuttled the abusive teacher to a neighboring school district.   The school district even accused the paraprofessionals of breaking the “code of silence.” 

The families of the abused children recently settled their federal lawsuit with the school district for $5 million.  The school districts’ insurance carrier will pay the full amount of the settlement.

By Jack Robinson

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