The lawsuit claims that Pittsburgh Public Schools violated former Brashear High School student Ny’Hier Williams’s civil rights after it failed to take reasonable action against another student implicated in multiple “unprovoked” assaults.
A former Brashear High School student who was severely beaten by a classmate has filed a federal lawsuit against Pittsburgh Public Schools, claiming that education officials failed to take reasonable action to ensure the 17-year-old student’s safety.
According to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the lawsuit was filed on behalf of Ny’Hier Willaims, who was a junior in high school when he was attacked by a classmate. In his complaint, Williams says that he suffered serious injuries in the January 2022 attack, during which another student slammed him onto the ground and knocked him unconscious before repeatedly stomping and kicking his head.
Another Brasher student, identified as Quincey Garland, was later arrested and charged with aggravated assault. The Post-Gazette notes that there are no public court documents indicating the outcome of the criminal case against Garland.
[note: another source, TribLive.com, indicates that Garland’s case moved to trial, where a jury found him not guilty]
Williams, now an adult, says that Pittsburgh Public Schools knew that the two students had a contentious and violent relationship. In the months preceding the January attack, Garland purportedly assaulted or attempted to assault Williams at least three times.
The first incident, says the Post-Gazette, occurred in September 2021. As Wiliams waited for the bus outside of school, Garland struck him in the side of the head, concussing Williams.
School officials were informed of the assault, and suspended everyone involved in the altercation—including Wiliams.
After a week, when he was permitted to return to school, Garland allegedly attacked him again, prompting Williams’ mother—Chata Williams—to request a meeting with school officials. She said that her son “no longer felt safe in Brasher High School,” reporting that Ny’Hier was “extremely anxious as a result of the repeated unprovoked attacks.”
Williams kept her son out of school until receiving assurance that Ny’Hier would be “kept safe and protected from Garland,” who the Williams family was told had been transferred to another school. But when Ny’Hier began attending classes again, he again encountered Garland on campus.
Officials said that Garland’s transfer paperwork was still processing, prompting Williams to pull her son out of school until January 20, 2022, on which day the district indicated that it would be safe for Ny’Hier to return.
However, less than a day later, Garland found Williams and “inflicted a brutal, heinous, inhuman attack.”
Footage of the incident showed Garland picking up Williams, slamming him into the ground, and then stomping on his head until and after he passed out.
“The only reason Ny’Hier returned to school on Jan. 21, 2022, was because [Pittsburgh Public Schools] personnel informed Ms. Williams that Ny’Hier would be kept safe and he should be sent back to school,” the lawsuit alleges.
The complaint asserts that the district’s inaction violated Wiliams civil rights. It seeks unspecified damages and a jury trial.