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Archive for Thursday, September 28, 2000

Lawsuits claims Garden City schools mistreat students

September 28, 2000

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— A second lawsuit has been filed against Garden City schools claiming mistreatment of a special education student.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of an unidentified "John Doe," was filed Monday in Finney County District Court by the child's parent.

Grant Griffiths, attorney for the parent, said the student attended Garden City during the 1998-1999 and 1999-2000 school years. The suit states the 17-year-old was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactive disorder in the fourth grade.

It alleges the district violated the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a civil rights violation and a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Allen Glendenning, Great Bend attorney for USD 457, said he was not aware of the latest lawsuit until informed of it by a reporter.

Griffiths said at least two more similar lawsuits, and possibly more, would be filed against the school district.

The first suit was filed May 11 by Robert Ledesma through his parents, Zeke and Alice Ledesma of Garden City.

That suit claims Robert Ledesma was hit by a paraprofessional at the school, and was left unattended and unsupervised. It also claims the boy was allowed to fall out of a wheelchair and was placed in a storage area with the door shut.

Griffiths also has filed a notice of claim on July 17 on behalf of another student, Andrew B. Green, and his parents, Robert and Catherine Green of Elk City, Okla.

Griffiths said a lawsuit will be filed on that claim as well.

The Greens' claim alleges that another student was allowed to hit Green in the face with a towel, causing numerous marks, cuts and abrasions. It also said that a storage closet was inappropriately used for "time out" punishment. It also alleges the boy was denied meals numerous times.

Glendenning said he is looking into the Greens' claim, and has not completed that investigation.

The Greens are seeking damages of $4.5 million.

The Ledesma suit is asking for $43.2 million and the "Doe" suit is seeking more than $75,000.

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