Weatherford Democrat

Local News

June 19, 2012

Parents: school "violently" washed boy

WEATHERFORD —  

A Parker County couple filed a federal lawsuit against Peaster ISD last week, alleging elementary school staff “violently” washed their 8-year-old son, calling him dirty and causing him physical, mental and emotional injury. 

However, the district superintendent Matt Adams said the district looked into the family’s allegation last year and found nothing to indicate the child had been bathed. 

Michael and Amber Tilley are seeking at least $75,000 from the district and the elementary school counselor Julie West and nurse Debbie Vanrite for alleged civil rights violations and retaliation against the third grader.

“Over the course of several years, various disputes [have] arisen by the parties, primarily concerning Mr. and Mrs. Tilley requesting appropriate educational services for their oldest son, [the 8-year-old’s brother],” the petition, filed in Fort Worth Thursday, states. “However, as a result of the historically contentious relationship [between] the plaintiff’s family and the school district, on numerous occasions employees of Peaster ISD have retaliated against the Tilley children, and further harassed the children.”

On Nov. 15, the 8-year-old was “berated and harassed” by employees of the district, including West, who allegedly told the child he smelled bad, was dirty and had bad hygiene and took him to the school nurse’s office. 

In front of another student, West and Vanrite reportedly told him to undress and take a shower. 

When the boy objected to completely disrobing and taking a shower, the two forced him to remove his clothing and began  “violently washing his body with a washcloth, scrubbing him over a large portion of his body, stuck cotton balls in his ears, all while ridiculing and harassing him about being ‘dirty,’” the Tilleys allege.  

“‘If you ever come to the school dirty again, we will strip you buck naked and throw you in the shower and scrub you down,’” the complaint states the teacher and nurse told the child after forcing him to apply deodorant.  

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