Parents of autistic student sue Allen School District over excessive discipline

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Sep. 15, 2010, 4:30pm

SHERMAN-The parents of an autistic boy have filed a lawsuit against his school, alleging his special education teacher used physical restraints and isolation as a means to control him.

David and Maureen Bordelon, individually and as next friend of the minor child and student, filed suit against Allen Independent School District on Sept. 8 in the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.

The alleged incident of excessive discipline occurred on March 10. According to the court records, the second grade child became upset after being requested to stop working at the computer.

The child began to hit the teachers and "crab walk" towards them with agitation. According to the plaintiffs' complaint, the special ed teaching assistant demanded that the child stand up and when he resisted the teachers restrained him using a towel.

The parents claim the restraint caused the child such stress that he began to vomit, and he was then placed in secluded "quiet/blue/reading room." The actions were contrary to the child's parent approved Behavior Intervention Plan, the suit states.

According to the complaint, the incident followed a series of other injuries their son endured as a result of lack of supervision.

The defendant is accused of physical injury, restraint and seclusion by a school employee in violation of the Individual with Disabilities Education Act, Rehabilitation Act and state mandates regarding proper training and qualification of special education staff, violation of nondiscrimination mandates and other violations of state law, common law negligence, assault-offensive physical contact and common law conspiracy.

Further, Allen Independent School District is accused of failing to provide a safe educational environment through the illegal restraints and seclusion and causing the minor permanent injury and demoralization.

The Bordelons are seeking actual, consequential and exemplary damages, interest, court costs and attorneys fees.

The family is represented by Jennifer L. Keefe of Patton Boggs in Dallas.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider is assigned to the case.

Case No. 4:10cv00453

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