School staff broke leg of boy with autism, lawsuit says – NBC4 Washington

Staff at a private school in Maryland broke the leg of a boy with autism as they restrained him, according to a lawsuit filed against the school and Frederick County Public Schools.

Video recorded in March 2022 shows staff members at the Strawbridge School in Baltimore County surrounding the 10-year-old boy in a hallway. He was taken to the ground, and according to the lawsuit, staff members restrained him for eight minutes with one of them sitting on his legs.

When he got up he couldn’t put pressure on his leg and needed help walking. His leg was broken in two places, his mother said in the lawsuit, and he did not get medical treatment at the school and was sent home at the end of the day.

“He could walk before that restraint,” attorney Samantha Manganaro. “After that restraint, he could not walk; he couldn’t put weight on his leg.”

Strawbridge is a private, nonprofit school serving students with special needs. Frederick County Public Schools placed the boy there, according to the lawsuit.

On the video, the incident appeared to start in the classroom. A staffer threw the student’s lunch into the hallway. There was a confrontation in the classroom. Staffers removed the boy from a chair and took him into the hallway. The boy threw a shoe. Then several staff members took him to the ground.

“They performed restraint wrong,” Manganaro said. “That’s obvious. You don’t break a kid’s leg in a restraint. Then when I saw the video I saw the restraint was completely unnecessary, and that’s what hurts.”

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The school nurse said his leg was sprained, the lawsuit says, but a doctor later determined it was broken near the ankle in two places.

The lawsuit claims negligence and personal injury, and while it happened at Strawbridge, the lawsuit says FCPS placed the boy and other students with special needs at the school but failed to provide oversight. The lawsuit also claims Strawbridge failed to properly train staff.

FCPS and Strawbridge both said they do not comment on pending litigation.

FCPS reached a settlement with the Department of Justice in December 2021 after an investigation found the district unnecessarily restrained and secluded students with disabilities.

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