Mother blames school, officials for daughter's injuries

By Chris Dickerson | May 20, 2011

WAYNE – A parent of a Spring Valley High School student says a teacher's refusal to allow her daughter to leave class when she felt ill resulted in injuries and surgery.

Dona Frye, mother of Savannah Adkins, filed her complaint in Wayne Circuit Court. She lists Spring Valley High School, teacher James Asbury, Principal Stephen J. Morris, the Wayne County Board of Education and Superintendent Gary L. Adkins as plaintiffs.

Frye says Savannah Adkins was in a class taught by Asbury on Sept. 14, 2009, when she asked to go to the restroom because she was feeling ill. Asbury refused to allow her. About two minutes later, Adkins got up and went to the restroom anyway "because she was ill."

"Ms. Adkins got out in the hallway and passed out, falling and hitting her face," the complaint says.

Another teacher and Principal Morris found Adkins and tried to contact her mother.

"By this time, Ms. Adkins was shaking, bleeding, was very hot and had lost a tooth, a result of the fall," the complain states. "No person at Spring Valley High called for an ambulance."

Frye arrived and took her daughter to Cabell Huntington Hospital where she had to undergo surgery the next day as a result of the fall.

Frye says her daughter suffered physical injuries and incurred medical expenses. Additionally, she says the family has suffered great mental anguish, pain and suffering, embarrassment, loss of enjoyment of family activities and life.

Frye alleges negligence, intentional emotional distress and negligent emotional distress. She seeks compensatory damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, court costs and other relief.

She is represented by attorney R. Stephen Jarrell, and the case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Darrell Pratt.

The defendants, in a motion filed March 11, ask the court to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a cause of action upon which relief can be granted.

An accompanying memorandum filed by attorneys R. Carter Elkins and Charles K. Garnes Jr., says Spring Valley High School is not a legal entity amenable to suit. It also says Asbury, Morris and Superintendent Adkins are immune from liability under West Virginia's Governmental Tort Claims and Insurance Reform Act, which limits liability of political subdivisions.

On April 26, a voluntary order of dismissal removing Spring Valley High School, Asbury, Morris and Superintendent Adkins was signed by Pratt. That leaves the Wayne County Board of Education as the sole defendant in the case.

Wayne Circuit Court case number: 11-C-28

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