West Virginia Record

Friday, July 19, 2019

Special ed student takes Jefferson County Board of Education to court

By Hoang Tran | Jan 22, 2016

CHARLES TOWN – A Ranson mother and son filed a federal lawsuit against the board of education over allegations of abuse.

William Conklin, individually and by his guardian, Susan Conklin, filed a lawsuit on Jan. 14 in the Northern District Court of West Virginia against the Jefferson County Board of Education, Howard Guth, and Terry Taylor over claims that the defendants violated the plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment, the Equal Protection Clause and Due Process clause of his 14th Amendment rights, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the American with Disabilities Act.

William Conklin is a 22-year-old man diagnosed with having attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, impulse-control disorder, bipolar disorder, mild mental retardation, asthma and mild hearing loss. He is a special education student at Jefferson High School.

The plaintiffs allege that on Jan. 16, 2014, Taylor knowingly, improperly and with deliberate indifference, seized William Conklin, and forcibly choked and pushed him against a bookcase. William allegedly sustained physical and psychological harm due to the abuse.

The Conklins claim that the school board failed to adequately take steps to reprimand Taylor even after police charged him criminally with unlawful restraint and battery.  The suit alleges that Guth, who was the principal of the school, and the board allowed Taylor to continue his duty as a teacher. After the incident, the plaintiffs said that William was fearful of going back to school due to Taylor's presence in his classroom; and, as a result, he was allegedly unable to attend his graduation.

The Conklins are suing for appropriate relief at law and equity; economic losses on all claims allowed by law including $3,000 for medical and psychological treatment; compensatory, consequential and future damages including damages for emotional distress, humiliation, loss of enjoyment of life, and other pain and suffering; punitive damages, pre- and post-judgment interest; attorney fees and cost of suit; and any other rewards deemed just by the court. They are seeking a jury trial and are represented by attorney Nancy A. Dalby of Shepherdstown.

Northern District Court of West Virginia Court Case number 3:16-CV08-GMG

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