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Does a $5 Million Suit Loom for Muscogee County?

Lawyers on both sides are busy doing their homework, a 14-year-old student allegedly injured in a confrontation with his teacher is hospitalized recovering from four operations on his leg and the Muscogee County School District faces the prospect of a $5 million lawsuit.

And it began in a classroom on Forest Road.

Details of the incident were publicized on this site Thursday and comments from readers here and on Facebook have referred to greedy lawyers, an unruly student, an overzealous teacher who shouldn’t have been physical no matter what the circumstances, a school that should have called the boy’s parents instead of putting the injured student on a school bus and growing sympathy for a teenager who faces several more weeks in an Atlanta hospital.

The threat of a lawsuit put lawyers on the clock.

School district attorneys are gathering information requested by attorney Renee Y. Tucker, who represents the student and his mother. She is associated with Forrest B. Johnson & Associates, a law firm with offices in Columbus, Atlanta and Macon. She served various members of the school system with an Ante Litem Notice — commonly known as a demand letter — on Sept. 29.

Tucker has also filed a Freedom of Information request. The school district was asked to produce various documents and copy of video footage taken in the classroom where the incident occurred. A newspaper report on Friday indicated that she has also requested the academic background of the teacher along with personnel records of the teacher and assistant principal. She also seeks local policies regarding restraining students, transporting students on school buses and procedures about rendering aid to students.

Reports of a $5 million law suit are being circulated, but no papers have been filed

The chain of events began Sept. 12 in a classroom at the Edgewood Student Services Center. It involves a student who formerly attended East Columbus Middle School. He was referred to the AIM Program under an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) which offers troubled students “specialized instruction and related services.”

School sources say the conflict began when the student got out of control and began wildly swinging a dust pan through the air. A male teacher restrained him and pulled the teen to the floor. He escaped and said he wanted to call his mother to come and get him. He was restrained two more times and during the third attempt to restrain him he screamed that his leg was injured.

Instead of calling his mother, school administrators or 911, the student was put on a chair in the room before being loaded in a school bus that took him home. His mother took him to the Columbus Midtown Medical Center where he was referred to Egleston Children’s Hospital. He was airlifted to Atlanta that evening.

Since then his right leg has been operated on four times and Tucker says he suffered permanent nerve damage as well as damage to his knee cap. The lawyer says the boy’s mother has told her that he will remain hospitalized four to six more weeks. Only then will he begin a lengthy program of physical therapy.

A final decision on what type of legal action will be taken will not be made until both sides have completed their individual investigations. But these issues will likely be considered:

• Why was physical restraints required?

• Did the teacher follow guidelines for dealing with an unruly student?

• Why wasn’t the student given medical attention at the scene?

• Why didn’t school officials contact the student’s mother?

• Why did authorities send the student home in a school bus?

• Did the delay in treatment worsen the condition of the student’s injuries?

• What is the long term prognosis for the student’s recovery?

• Who is liable for the student’s mounting doctor and hospital bills?

Muscogee County School District officials have declined comment on the incident saying they do not discuss active or potential lawsuits. The system is represented by longtime school board attorney Greg Ellington and his associates at Hall Booth Smith, Attorneys at Law, a law firm with offices in 12 cities, including Columbus.

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  1. Shantae Tyson

    October 15, 2016 at 8:43 am

    If it was my kid it would be more than five million

  2. Shantae Tyson

    October 15, 2016 at 8:43 am

    I would sue for all kinds of shit missed school.. Missed work… Humility… Man it’s a shit longer than a grocery list… I wouldn’t be desperate and settle for shitty five million… That money ain’t no money… Mfs will have to pay me… For the rest of my life and when in dead

  3. Joannie McGee

    October 15, 2016 at 8:54 am

    He shouldn’t have put his hands on the student period!! Then to break so many rules. I know for a fact you supposed to inform parents, seek medical attention then, and to put him on the bus and he couldn’t walk, was totally unacceptable.. I hope she gets her Max lawsuit… Sickening!

  4. Vickie McBride

    October 15, 2016 at 9:11 am

    I was wondering if they were injured at home before this happen at the school and this is way they wouldn’t get up.

    • Leila Williams

      October 15, 2016 at 12:37 pm

      There is more to the story than is being told I believe.

    • May Kimble Rojas

      October 16, 2016 at 1:50 am

      I know a kid that went there he is so disrespectful ! Those teachers put up with alot ……

    • Darcy Crosby Garrett

      October 16, 2016 at 1:46 pm

      Wow you think that gives them the right to abuse and cripple a child and then try and cover it up. May Kimble Rojas I sure hope you don’t work with kids.

    • Becky Battles

      October 16, 2016 at 4:59 pm

      Nowadays, teachers are more disrespectful than the students, especially when a student states they don’t understand and the teacher refuses to explain… why are they called teachers, if they don’t wanna teach? Go figure…..

    • Becky Battles

      October 16, 2016 at 5:02 pm

      Yes, Mrs. Rojas…I know what I’m talking about…I have 4 teenage grandkids in these high schools down here….and the teachers donot “teach”

    • Felisha Brown

      October 16, 2016 at 9:48 pm

      As a teacher Ms. Battles I’m highly offended BC one thing that I do try to do is teach my students. I even try to teach life lessons in case they have parents that do not teach them to their children

    • Felisha Brown

      October 16, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      I agree with you on the second half of your first statement but the rest is so offensive

    • Lakisha West

      October 17, 2016 at 3:06 am

      A teacher at this same school had my nephew going to all kinds of court talking about he punched her two times in the arm and she was bruised and in pain come to find out he never touched her on the video tape . MCSD release the tape because y’all have it I’m quite sure it would have been released if he the child did something. And none of that the tape was misplaced like y’all tried to do us

  5. Leila Hodo

    October 15, 2016 at 9:23 am


  6. Marc Holmes

    October 15, 2016 at 10:35 am

    1. Why was he swinging a dust pan and what was the cause of him becoming so hostile?
    2. Did the school make any attempt to notify the mother and was the mother’s phone number working?
    3. Is this a problem student and how many times have this happened in the past?
    4. Is the mother one of those mothers that ignore phone calls from the school regarding their child’s behavior or if the school calls the mother to pick them up from school?
    5. What is “protocol” when students have violent outburst and the teacher must protect themselves as well as other students?
    Those are just a few of the questions I have…

    • Pamela Pitts Johnson

      October 15, 2016 at 11:12 am

      Great points!

    • Ja'Bryce Johnson

      October 15, 2016 at 4:11 pm

      Well it’s an alternative school if that answer half of your questions.

    • Lenitha Taylor

      October 15, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      Its not just an alternative school… Its also for students that fell behind and are working to get in their right grade… However, even if he is a “problem child”, that still doesn’t give the teacher or anyone else a reason to put their hands on someone’s child… And to do that much damage… This can’t be justified…

    • Marc Holmes

      October 15, 2016 at 11:38 pm

      Ok. So, him being an alternative school justifies his behavior? Also, let’s start with answering question 1 to get to the root of it all. Then let’s move to question 5 to answer what one must do if this situation was occur again.

    • Lakisha West

      October 17, 2016 at 3:08 am

      I wonder how many people would still be asking these questions if they 13 yr old had to get his leg cut off

    • Marc Holmes

      October 17, 2016 at 5:40 am

      It wasn’t a issue with mine because they knew if they cut up in school by the least little bit, I was in their ass like a hemorrhoid. By no means am I condoning the teachers actions, I’m simply asking how did it escalate to this?

  7. Beth Horne Alston

    October 15, 2016 at 11:09 am

    A few years back a para saw a special ed teacher slap one of her students. And that teacher DID NOT LOSE HER JOB WITH MCSD. She was in the classroom within a year as a para. Was given a job within the district before allowed back in the classroom.

  8. Debbie Eklund

    October 15, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    I once watched a parapro take a small boy’s head and slam it into a desk at Reese Rd. elementary…… I reported it to the principal and nothing happened.

    • Vickie McBride

      October 15, 2016 at 12:56 pm

      As educators we are mandated reporters. If the principle did nothing then you should have took it further yourself. Your. Bad

    • Debbie Eklund

      October 15, 2016 at 12:59 pm

      Vickie McBride I did….. STILL nothing happened. Your. Bad? What does that mean? Please tell me you are NOT an educator……..your English is diabolical.

    • Michael Sterling

      October 15, 2016 at 5:28 pm

      Taking it further means getting legal council parents are not equipped to handle it themselves

    • Beth Horne Alston

      October 15, 2016 at 6:52 pm

      Our principal told the para she would not have to talk to the police. So was he not gonna report it? Then he avoided the parents for a week. Saw it with my own eyes.

  9. Leila Williams

    October 15, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    Physical restraint is often required. And before you jump to conclusions. Take some time to go to schools these days and observe the actions of these behavior challenged students. I get some children can’t help it. But their parents do nothing and don’t seek the help they need to function in a classroom with other children. Inclusion is not always a good thing. I have witnessed out of control kindergarteners who need to be In a self contained BD class but aren’t. And they are so unruly and strong they can not be restrained. Ask yourself. Why was he in an alternative school to begin with? No if the teacher truly injured him it isn’t right. But I guarantee you there is more to the story. What did he do to other students at his home school to land him here?! !!!
    Money making scheme…now get your settlement & keep your child at home & home school him!

    • Lisa Royal Drew

      October 15, 2016 at 10:41 pm

      Body Slamming someone child isn’t justifiable, there is no right in that…If the teacher couldn’t handle kids with behavior issues,,,wrong profession. This whole mess smells like a cover up to me…

    • Lakisha West

      October 17, 2016 at 3:10 am

      Leila Royal Drew have any of your kids have had their leg cut off

  10. Michael Sterling

    October 15, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Marc are trying to justify this brutality on a child

    • Debbie Eklund

      October 15, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      Looks that way…

    • Lenitha Taylor

      October 15, 2016 at 6:46 pm

      Sounds like it

    • Marc Holmes

      October 15, 2016 at 11:42 pm

      Never justified anything. I simply asked questions. However, everybody seems to squirm when asked to view to situation from both ends. But, there is a HUGE chunk of this story missing.

    • Lakisha West

      October 17, 2016 at 3:13 am

      Mark you have both of your legs to walk away he don’t so I don’t give a damn about what he did or was doing if that the case the teacher should have called for the police that’s their in the school instead of him body slamming a child til the point where it’s permanently damaged to the point it have to get cut off

  11. Thomas Cole

    October 15, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    Well who do you think will pay? The citizens of Muscogee County. Well duhhh

  12. Beth Horne Alston

    October 15, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    Leila is right about some students being out of control. Had two BD classes and some of these students are big and strong.

  13. Latrease Jones

    October 15, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    I’m sure there are procedures to follow when dealing with BD students….. they have already diagnosed them but that doesn’t mean educators should treat them differently because of the diagnosis….. Rules are rules and just the same as the student or students are required to follow them so are the educators…. People tend to throw there positions and authority around like it’s ok to abuse rules and processes that has been put in place. That’s completely wrong then you have people like the principles and other teachers that tries to cover up their wrong doing just because they have been already labeled as a troubled child …Wrong …… follow the procedures that was put in place which would have avoided this child being injured and abused by a teacher… There is no right to this situation and any other that requires a child to handled in such a way because of their condition….

  14. Pedro A. Valentin

    October 15, 2016 at 8:45 pm


  15. Richard Starling

    October 15, 2016 at 8:52 pm

    So if that student attacked the teacher he got what he deserved

    • Ronda Johnson

      October 15, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      I wonder if you would say that if it was your child? it doesn’t matter what happened, a teacher has no right to ever put their hands on a student, PERIOD! but i forgot, the teachers here in Columbus, GA are very unprofessional with no proper training at all dealing with disabled children or children with behavior problems. I’ve personally never seen anything like it until moving to Columbus, GA where do they do that at?

  16. Debby Chadwick

    October 15, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    So many ???? need to be answered…

  17. Clyde Reece Hill

    October 16, 2016 at 3:18 am

    Anyone remember when you acted out in class and were sent the principals office? You’d wait 15 to 20 minutes…. enough time to calm down, and then you’d discuss the issue and how you could have handled it better….. then you’d take 3 or 4 licks on the butt with a paddle. It hurt….. but you’d go back to class with a new attitude.

    If kids don’t learn that there’s consciences for their actions – we’ll keep hearing about stories like this – and worse.

  18. Alyce Reed

    October 16, 2016 at 4:10 am

    Mr.Hill we’re talking about a student with behavior disorders.And was sent to alternative school.This school is not the school where you’re sent to the principle’s office for time out and a licking on the behind which is also against the law.If schools are to exist to handle students with BD then they need to be better prepared.The teachers better trained and the Board of education should have precise guidelines for the BD child.No teacher should take it upon themselves to physically reprimand a student.My question is where was the school safety officers at?Or is Muscogee county to cheap to hire them?

    • Lakisha West

      October 17, 2016 at 3:16 am

      They have them but I you will always have people like Mr. Hill child have a leg cut off he won’t understand

  19. Judy Key

    October 16, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    Amanda Davis Key

  20. Evelyn Baker

    October 16, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    Yall listen! Do you hear yourselves. I was born raised and fed here this is Georgia the “Good ole Boy Network” The judges are high ranking officers of that club. This child may get a little go about your business and shut up money but it won’t be substantially enough to do little or nothing with they will make the teacher eat it first

  21. Myrtle Gore

    October 16, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    That’s really messed up

  22. Kalima Rembert

    October 16, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Michelle Smith

  23. Debra Barr-Beesley

    October 16, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Perhaps the resource officer should have been called to the classroom when this child began swinging the dust pan around, and I don’t think the whole story has been given yet.

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