A 13-year-old student who said he was “thrown to the floor” multiple times by a teacher at Edgewood Student Services Center on Sept. 12 is expected to have his leg amputated today as a result of the alleged incident, according to his attorney.
Attorney Renee Tucker, who represents the boy and his mother, said the student is still being treated at the Egleston Children’s Hospital in Atlanta. His family learned the news about the required amputation over the weekend.
“As anyone can anticipate there was certainly an emotional response,” said Tucker, who said the child will probably need counseling in addition to physical therapy. “I mean, the fact that now it’s led to an amputation just signifies the degree of force that was used with regard to our client, particularly (the teacher) body-slamming him three different times.”
Tucker said the mother also lost her job at a temporary agency, because she spent much of her time by her child’s side.
“As anyone can anticipate, it’s not the fault of any employer,” Tucker said. “But when you’re an employee and you’re not able to make it to work, you’re not able to maintain a position.”
She said the boy was enrolled in the Muscogee County School District’s AIM program when the incident reportedly happened. It’s an alternative school program for students who have been temporarily removed from their assigned school because of violations of behavior rules.
Tucker said the student, who was previously enrolled at East Columbus Middle School, was trying to leave the classroom and go to the main office so he could call his mother to pick him up.
That’s when the teacher stopped him for an unknown reason and slammed him to the floor to prevent him from leaving, Tucker said. The student said he was thrown to the floor a second time when he tried to leave again.
Tucker said it’s still unclear how many times it happened, but she stated that assistant principal Eddie Powell reportedly witnessed it at some point. She said a school resource officer saw the student limping afterward but didn’t assist or file a report.
“I don’t think there’s any explanation that a teacher can give as to why he didn’t want him to go to the administrative office to call his mother,” the attorney said, who was hired two weeks after the alleged incident.
Tucker said school officials initially told the boy they would call an ambulance but decided against it later on.
The teacher who was reportedly involved then carried him to the school bus and sent him home without notifying his family, she said.
“They placed an injured student on the school bus,” said Tucker, who stated that her client told officials that his leg was numb, on Oct. 13. “We don’t know the extent that the injuries were worsened by the failure to render aid and certainly by picking him up and seating him on the school bus. Then they had him ride in that same school bus home without any support or stabilization of that leg.”
Tucker said an “inside source” informed her that the school has video footage of the incident. She said she submitted an open records request to the Muscogee County School’s board attorney on Sept. 26 requesting the footage along with more than 50 documents. That includes records concerning the teacher’s training, the teacher and assistant principal’s personnel record, the rules and regulations for physically restraining students, policies for transporting students on school buses, and policies and procedures about rendering aid to students.
Tucker said she has received a response from the school board’s attorney, whom she said agreed to release the documents once they’ve been collected.
Tucker said they still plan to file a lawsuit based on how the student was reportedly restrained and the alleged absence of medical aid. She said the amount to be pursued has yet to be determined.
“We issued an ante litem notice that had a number of $5 million,” Tucker said. An ante litem notice is required when someone intends to file lawsuit against a government agency.
“Our investigation is still ongoing, and I think we all have an interest in certainly getting to the bottom of it,” the attorney said.
Edgewood Student Services Center coordinator Reginald Griffin referred all questions about the allegation to MCSD communications director Valerie Fuller.
“We extend our thoughts and prayers to our student who is undergoing medical treatment and to his family,” Fuller responded in an email sent to the Ledger-Enquirer this morning. “We are committed to conducting a thorough review of the alleged incident at the AIM Student Services Center to determine all of the facts.”
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