A lawsuit has been filed against a Michigan school, alleging abuse to a 26-year-old cerebral palsy student. The abuse allegedly occurred for over a decade.
Nesa Johnson is the teacher accused of taping student with cerebral palsy, Rosa Smith’s mouth shut. After taking a pictures of the horrific event and sending it to the student’s mother. Johnson sent the picture (above) to Smith’s mother with a caption that read: “Help. She won’t be quiet!!!”
The 25-page lawsuit states “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,” it also states “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” (Chia 2017, p.5).
Adding to the horrific events Smith was allegedly over-medicated, staff were seen slapping her and reportedly locked her in the bathroom for extended periods of time. Smith also received third-degree burns due to staff spilling hot coffee down her legs.
Over the years Doreen Smith, mother of Rosa made complaints to the district to no avail. The school denied all allegations claiming the injuries Rosa received were self-inflicted.
Jonathan Marko, The family’s attorney stated in an interview with the press that, “This was not a situation where they could pull their daughter out of the school and put them in another school. It’s not that easy. This is an intensive program she was put into that was supposed to keep her safe” (Hackney 2017, p.6).
No one named in the lawsuit has come forward to confirm or deny the allegations. The Washtenaw Independent School District released a statement to the Detroit Free Press stating that they administered a complete investigation and would take “appropriate remedial action” (Hackney 2017, p.9) upon first learning of the family’s worries.
The statement from the district also mentioned that “[t]he 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” (Hackney 2017, p.8).
Rosa currently suffers from physical, emotional and psychological harm due to these damaging events. The family hopes to get resolution from the lawsuit.
Chia, Jessica. “Teacher taped disabled student’s mouth shut, texted parents horrific photo: lawsuit .” Http://Www.nydailynews.com/News/National/Teacher-Taped-Disabled-Student-Mouth-Shut-Lawsuit-Article-1.3610290, 4 Nov. 2017.
Hackney, Deanna . “Lawsuit claims teacher taped special-Needs woman’s mouth shut.” Http://Www.cnn.com/2017/11/03/Health/Teacher-Mouth-Shut-Punishment-Trnd/Index.html, 3 Nov. 2017.