Socastee High special needs student assaulted, educators negligent, suit says

Socastee High School
Socastee High School The Sun News

A family says their special needs student faced assault and negligence by educators at Socastee High, according to a new lawsuit.

The suit was filed by an unidentified family, identified only as John, Jane and Janie Doe, against Horry County Schools. The student has an intellectual disability, vision impairment and is nonverbal.

According to the suit, the student started at Socastee High School in 2015 and was in a special needs class. A male teacher hired an aide for the student, but the family was not consulted.

The family also said the teacher said he disliked having female aides in his classroom.

The student uses sounds to indicate her emotions. While on a field trip, the teacher told the teen she would be put in a timeout for being too loud, the suit contends. At a meeting with administrators, the family asked that timeouts not be used because they upset the student.

The next year, the girl’s parents noticed a change in the teen’s behavior and found a bruise on her back.

The teacher later said the teen was bruised while he changed her diaper and she banged her back, the filing states. The family questioned why the male teacher changed a diaper and why he needed to remove the student’s shirt to change a diaper.

In late March 2017, the teacher said he placed the student in a “seclusion room,” which is a separate area for violent children guarded by a school resource officer. The teacher said he and the student were alone and only there for five to 10 minutes, but the family said it was a longer period.

The family met with school administrators to voice concerns, but they were not addressed, according to the suit.

A district investigation did not identify any wrongdoing and “impliedly validated” the actions, the lawsuit argues.

The family alleges negligence, assault and other claims in the suit. It asks for an unspecified amount of damages.

Horry County Schools spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier said the district doesn’t comment on pending litigation.