West Virginia Record

Monday, December 9, 2019

Guardian sues Mercer school board for attack on special needs student

By Chris Dickerson | Nov 22, 2016

General court 4

PRINCETON – The guardian of a special needs student blames the Mercer County school board and some employees for allowing the girl to be attacked by another special needs student.

R.H. filed the complaint Nov. 10 in Mercer Circuit Court on behalf of H.H. against the Mercer County Board of Education, teacher Susan Hatcher and some unnamed defendants who worked at Melrose Elementary School in May 2015 at the time of the incident.

In the complaint, the mother says her daughter is a non-mobile special needs student who is not capable of defending herself.

“Another special needs student, that is mobile and has aggressive tendencies, carried out the assault and battery of H.H.,” the complaint states. “The attack involved hitting, biting, sucking and scratching.”

The mother says her daughter suffered lacerations to her face, abrasions to the cornea of her right eye and bruising to her neck and shoulder. She also says it was the third time the girl had been injured by other students at school, and she was promised it never would happen again after each incident.

R.H. says the defendants created a classroom environment that allowed H.H. to be assaulted and abused and failed to provide proper supervision. She says they also showed a reckless disregard for the safety and well-being of her daughter and failed to properly monitor and staff the classroom.

She also says Hatcher might have been on her cell phone at the time of the attack on H.H.

The plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as court costs, attorney fees and other relief.

They are being represented by attorney Paul M. Stroebel of Stroebel & Johnson PLLC in Charleston. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Mark Wills.

Mercer Circuit Court case number: 16-C-378

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