Gavel in court after lawsuit is filed.A teacher putting tape over a child's mouth is never okay.

A lawsuit has been initiated between the parents of a young woman with special needs, Rosa Smith, and the Washtenaw School District in Michigan. Rosa Smith, a young woman who has cerebral palsy as well as other health concerns, was berated and disciplined in unconventional and illegal maneuvers by a teacher within the Washtenaw School District. Some methods included having scalding coffee poured onto her legs as well as having her mouth taped shut. Smith, who suffers from seizures as well as speech impediments, was not able to voice her concerns to her parents or others. The situation was brought to light when text messages between the teacher involved and her mother revealed photos of Smith with tape over her mouth during school.

This was not discipline, it was torture and cruel punishment.

What we see in this lawsuit is clear negligence by the school district to respond in a proper manner to the incidents involving not only this young woman but other individuals who have experienced improper care within the district. This has been a reoccurring incident within the school and part of the pattern of abuse dating back to 2004. We all know that if the district is given a pass here, it will only continue to happen because conduct rewarded is conduct repeated.

Conduct rewarded is conduct repeated.

Smith's mother has reported numerous incidents in the past to the school district but has not seen a change in behavior on behalf of the teacher in question or the school district's representatives. 

How much can you do before you have to ask for help? Trial lawyers bring cases like these to make a difference. Today, a company that is making a lot of money is not going to change its systems until it is forced to; it doesn't matter to them how many times it is reported. That is not right, but that is why we are here for you.

What do we want and need a daycare facility to have?

While we are at work, we trust other individuals with our young ones. The sad reality here is: How much SHOULD we trust them? Systems are usually in place to ensure that the individuals are in line with our expectations. For instance, here are a few expectations that we look out for in our care facilities:

1. Trained employees: We expect our care employees to have proper training in terms of dealing with an entire range of individuals. We expect them to have training with children as well as special needs individuals of all ages. In this situation, such training was not in place.

2. Checks and balances within the system: If sufficient training is not provided, we expect this to be detected within the system. With that, we believe that there should be systems in place in order to ensure smooth and sufficient operations. Unfortunately, due to the lack of checks and balances within the school district, this neglect issue went undetected as well as unfixed. 

3. Constant supervision: Along with training, care workers should be knowledgeable of the location of each of their subjects. Individuals should be constantly monitored and provided the attention that they demand and deserve

4. Patience: All care workers should be expected to exhibit a level of patience within their roles as caregivers to both young children as well as special needs individuals. Both groups require a level of patience in order to be able to handle outbursts and misbehaviors in a dignified manner.

In the case of Washtenaw School District and the teacher in question, all of these systems were ignored.

How can we help?

These types of cases are what we do. We handle cases all over Texas involving daycare neglect. Cases like the one mentioned above as well as the ones we handle are not simply kids being kids - it is deeper than that. It is a business being run to exploit hard-working parents. Daycare facilities are necessary for lots of parents that work. Unfortunately, the bad apples just do not care. 

We know what to do as soon as we are signed onto a case. We have the experts needed for these cases. We have a team ready to help you and hold them accountable.

These are just a few of the expectations we all believe daycare workers must follow. With a focus on Dallas, Houston, as well as Midland, The Button Law Firm has represented families from all over Texas where their children have been victims of such neglect. If you or a loved one has experienced a level of neglect within a care system similar to this, give us a call at 214-699-4409 or email us at [email protected]. We would love to get you the closure you need and the accountability the community wants so our children are safe. 


Russell Button
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Dallas, Houston, and Midland Texas trial and personal injury lawyer dedicated to securing justice for clients.
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