Teacher sued for abusive discipline of challenged student

LAS VEGAS - An appeals court has revived a lawsuit brought on behalf of an 11-year-old boy who was allegedly forced to eat his own vomit at school.

The suit against the Clark County School District cites the vomit incident as part of a pattern of two years of alleged physical, psychological and emotional abuse against Shawn Witte.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided last week to reinstate a lawsuit brought by the youth and his mother, Teresa, that U.S. District Judge David Hagen had dismissed in July 1998.

Witte attended Variety School, a special education facility, because he has Tourette's syndrome, asthma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and emotional problems.

The suit contends that anytime Witte made noise in class, failed to run fast enough, became distracted or made involuntary body movements, he was emotionally or physically abused.

Witte's teachers allegedly force-fed him oatmeal despite the fact they knew he was allergic to it. They continued to do so even after he vomited in it, the lawsuit contends.

The lawsuit also claims Witte and his mother were told that if they reported the abuse they would be separated.

The lawsuit, filed two months after the boy's January 1998 transfer to a new school, was dismissed seven months later after Hagen ruled that Witte and his mother had not exhausted all of the remedies available to them through the school district.

School district spokeswoman Mary Stanley-Larsen said the school district's attorneys have not yet seen the Court of Appeals' decision.


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