Lawsuit: Birmingham AL Teacher Beat 9-Year-Old Student With Belt During Class

12/09/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, US // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan

Birmingham, AL—A lawsuit claiming assault and battery, civil rights violations and other infringements was filed this week, naming the Birmingham city school system and a second-grade teacher as defendants. According to a Dec. 9, 2010 Birmingham News report, the second-grade teacher named in the lawsuit apparently hit a 9-year-old with a belt six times, once for each question the child missed on a test.

Sarah Blackmon, the Birmingham mother who filed the lawsuit, claims Barrett Elementary School teacher Katherine Thirkill beat her 9-year-old son with a belt after he took a test and missed six questions. The incident occurred on Nov. 6, 2009.

The lawsuit alleges, “Thirkill called TW to the front of the class, removed her belt, announced that she would beat him for each question he answered incorrectly and then struck TW about his body six times, breaking his skin with the metal buckle.”

Thirkill confessed to school officials in Nov. 2009 that she had hit the child, identified as TW in the lawsuit. Birmingham city schools officials placed the teacher on leave, pending an investigation into the incident, though she was eventually allowed to return to work.

Afrika Parchman, general counsel for the school district, contended, “We investigated it, and the appropriate actions were taken.” Parchman would not specify what sort of punitive action was taken.

Nonetheless, the lawsuit claims the beating was “unjustified in its inception as there was no reasonable grounds for inflicting such malicious and sadistic beating upon TW, as he has not violated any of the rules or policies of the school.”

The suit, which seeks unspecified punitive and non-economic damages, said the teacher violated TW’s civil rights, as well as the federal Vocational Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Reports stated TW is in special education, a program where teachers are supposed to give him oral tests, as opposed to written ones. The test he took prior to the beating was a written exam.

Additionally, the lawsuit charges the teacher with assault and battery, along with other unspecified claims. It seeks compensation for “mental anguish, emotional distress, pain and suffering and future medical expenses.”

Neither Thirkill, nor the Birmingham city schools district, commented on the pending litigation.

The case is underway.

Legal News Reporter: Sandra Quinlan– Legal News for Alabama Personal Injury Lawyers.

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Url: Sandra Quinlan: West Palm Beach Injury News