Parents Sue School District for Abuse and Death of Special Needs Son

The parents of a former special needs student at an Atlanta high school are suing the district and 15 Fulton County public school employees for $10.5 million for the death of their son Aaron Hatcher, WGCL-TV reports.

The lawsuit alleges Aaron, who died last March, suffered abuse by middle school and high school teachers.

Ronald and Arthelia Hatcher, Aaron’s parents, claim Roswell High School teacher Katherine Dorn Durden forced their son to wear a homemade neck brace to turn his head to face the classroom, ultimately causing his death.

The Courthouse News Service provides details of the lawsuit’s alleged abuse:

“While in Mrs. Durden’s class, Aaron came home with bruises on his back and hands, making it clear that he was not being properly secured in his chair. Further, and without parental or medical consent, Mrs. Durden took it upon herself to twist and then constrain Aaron’s neck in a makeshift neck brace apparently because she did not like the way Aaron was forced to twist his neck in order to breathe. While a student in Mrs. Durden’s class, Aaron was repeatedly rushed to the hospital from school as a result of the abuse.”

According to the lawsuit, the family seeks compensatory and punitive damages for assault, battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, negligent hiring and retention, constitution violations, and violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Rehabilitation Act and several Georgia state laws.

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