Lawsuit: School district employee catches colleagues abusing special needs student
CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Three employees at a Charleston County school physically and emotionally abused a special needs student for years, according to a new lawsuit filed against the school district Friday.
The court documents state Jessica and Matthew Bass would drop off their son, who has non-verbal autism, at Moultrie Middle School over the course of the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 school years. The suit states they watched as their child grew more and more anxious going to school each day, eventually not even wanting to leave the car.
The lawsuit states Tyler Bealmear, Samantha Davis and Maria Audrey, all school district employees at Moultrie Middle, physically restrained the student for years. From blocking him in the corner using bookshelves and desks to dragging the student across the floor and slamming him into his desk, the court documents claim school administrators knew this was happening but did nothing.
The lawsuit states the student’s parents found out only after an employee caught the three colleagues abusing the student.
The ‘whistleblower’ employee, as the lawsuit labels him or her, allegedly reported the abuse to Assistant Principal Ryan Giles and Principal Ryan Cumback. The suit continues, stating the whistleblower also reported the behavior to later Principal Anita Huggins. All three administrators, the lawsuit alleges, took no action and made no policy changes.
As a result, the suit alleges the student became less responsive during his therapy sessions due to the “unlawful touching and physical abuse.”
The family says in the suit they were never notified about how their son was being treated nor any behavior that would warrant that treatment. They’re now claiming gross negligence against the district and are asking for at least $100,000 dollars in damages.
Charleston County School District released the following statement in response to the lawsuit:
“Charleston County School District is concerned about the welfare of each and every student in attendance at its schools. When it received the Bass lawsuit and its allegations of misconduct, the District conducted a review and found that there is no basis for the allegations contained in the Complaint and believes that all of its employees acted appropriately with regard to the circumstances and education of the student in question. No employee took inappropriate action with regard to the student. CCSD will vigorously defend this action.”
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