A mother of a disabled student is fighting back against her child’s school in a seven-figure lawsuit that claims her daughter’s mouth was taped shut in class.
According to the New York Daily News, the lawsuit claims that Rosa Smith, who has cerebral palsy as well as other disabilities, suffered “physical, emotional and psychological harm” during her time at High Point School in Ann Arbor. The teacher, Nesa Johnson has been accused of taping Smith’s mouth shut and sending a photo of it to her mother Doreen Smith. The photo had a message with it that read, “Help. She won’t be quiet!!!”
NESA JOHNSON TEACHER AT A MICHIGAN SCHOOL> TAPED ROSA SMITH 26YR OLD Disabled Student’s MOUTH SHUT https://t.co/yxESySgrhM
The lawsuit, which was filed last week, also stressed how dangerous taping Rosa’s mouth was especially with her being under 5 feet tall and weighing only 62 pounds, says the Detroit Free Press.
“Taping a special-needs student’s mouth shut is appalling in-and-of-itself, but was especially torturous for Rosa, who is physically unable to remove the tape, has trouble breathing and clearing her throat, and breathes out of her mouth,” the lawsuit states.
Lawyers added: “Defendant Johnson’s actions put Rosa’s life in jeopardy. Furthermore, hair and skin were missing from the area of Rosa’s face where Johnson removed the tape.”
Sadly, this isn’t the only abuse Rosa’s mother claims she endured by the school’s staff.
Her lawsuit states that the school overmedicated, slapped and locked her in the bathroom for extended periods of time. One day, a teacher allegedly spilled hot coffee on her leg. The Daily News noted that when her mother complained about the burns, the school said Rosa did it to herself when she knocked the coffee off a shelf.
In February, a staff member also allegedly slapped Smith in the face several times “in plain view” of other students and faculty members, the lawsuit alleges. While no one reported the alleged abuse, Smith’s bus driver saw the assault and told her mother.
The Washtenaw Intermediate School District issued the following statement to the Free Press about Smith’s lawsuit.
“The family did not report this, or any other complaint to the district until nearly a year after it occurred. During that subsequent year, the student continued attending school, in the same classroom, with the same teacher. When we were first informed of the family’s concern, we immediately conducted a complete investigation and took appropriate remedial action.”
However, Washtenaw ISD spokeswoman Emma Jackson said that while Johnson is no longer an employee, she wasn’t fired either.