Woman With Cerebral Palsy Suffers Physical Abuse At School, Family Files Lawsuit
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A Michigan woman with cerebral palsy endured abuse at the hands of her teacher, principal and other school staff and now her family is fighting for justice. Rosa Smith’s family filed a lawsuit against Washtenaw Intermediate School District, a teacher, principal and two teacher’s aides for “repetitive instances of abuse,” according to WBRC Fox 6 News.
The 25-page lawsuit alleges that Smith, now 26, suffered physical and psychological abuse including hot coffee being poured on her, being slapped in the face and locked in rooms for extended periods of time. The most recent abuse was in March 2016 when Smith’s teacher Nesa Johnson allegedly taped her mouth shut because she was “making noises.”
Smith is unable to move her arms and hands, has physical impairments as well as an inability to communicate.
“These weren’t accidents, and there was abuse going on,” said the family’s attorney Johnathan Marko. “They blamed Rosa for scalding hot coffee being poured on her. They blamed Rosa for coming home with bruises on her. They even blamed Rosa for being too loud, and that’s why they had to gag and bound her.”
The abuse dates back to 2004 according to legal documents.
The school district claims that the family did not report Smith’s abuse until nearly a year after it happened.
“We take the health, safety, and education of all of our students very seriously,” the school district said in a statement.
The Smith family is asking for an undisclosed amount in damages and attorney fees to be paid.