SE Texas Record

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Grandmother alleges special education’s 'culture of restraint'

By Carol Ostrow | Apr 1, 2015


A Fannin County guardian has sued 10 independent school districts and two individual employees for injuries allegedly inflicted on her ward.

Linda Burleson, as next friend for her minor grandchild, filed a lawsuit March 18 in the Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas, against the Bonham, Honey Grove, Blue Ridge, Dodd City, Ector, Fannindel, Leonard, Sam Rayburn, Savoy, and Trenton independent school districts, all individually and as member districts of Fannin County Special Education Shared Services Arrangement, as well as Brent Lawayne Johnson and Adriane Brooke Connerley, alleging negligence and violation of education laws.

The suit alleges that “C.P.”, the minor child and a 5th grader at I.W. Evans Intermediate School in Bonham, was subjected to traumatic disciplinary practices while under the supervision of special education personnel in April and May 2013.

The complaint cites the unlawful and abusive conduct inflicted upon C.P. was a regular habit and practice and the defendants failed to provide a safe educational environment for the plaintiff. The suit states the defendants restrained him illegally, falsely accused him of stealing, and had him detained in a juvenile detention facility due to the false allegations.

Alleging negligence, excessive and unlawful disciplinary measures including assault, physical injury and unlawful restraint by school employees, Burleson cites violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and other federal and state regulations.

Additionally, Burleson charges the defendants failed to use positive behavioral interventions as required by the child’s IEP (Individualized Education Program), a nationwide standard for special education pupils. She cities bad faith, mismanagement, physical pain and mental suffering.

The Burlesons seek unliquidated actual, consequential and exemplary damages, attorney fees, expenses and costs. They are represented by attorney Anthony O’Hanlon of Sherman.

Sherman Division of the Eastern District of Texas case number: 4:15-cv-00192

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