Lawsuit Filed After Kindergartner Restrained in Locker Multiple Times
A 4-year-old boy “suffered emotional distress” after being restrained in a locker multiple times by an elementary school employee in Nashville, this distress “arising out of [the] assault and false imprisonment,” according to the subsequent lawsuit filed in Davidson County Circuit Court. The lawsuit goes on to state that the boy “is afraid of the dark, must sleep with someone, and experiencing severe nightmares.”
The boy’s mother, acting on behalf of her son, is suing the school district, Metro Nashville Public Schools, and instructor, Sarah Gregory, for negligence, causing emotional distress, battery, assault, false imprisonment and other misconduct. They are represented by attorney Roland Mumford. The lawsuit is seeking $500,000 from Gregory and $300,000 from the district.
The incidents occurred at Neely’s Bend Elementary school and were only stopped after an employee happened to hear the kindergartner’s pleas for help and walked in on Gregory pushing him into the unit. The employee immediately sought help from the school’s principal, Dr. Derrick Salter.
Salter allegedly saw the boy getting out of the locker and decided to send a text to the child’s mother asking her to call him. “She was told that the school was going to ‘handle it,'” Mumford said. The school then filed a report with the Department of Children’s Services, who has opened an investigation into the claim.
The case was assigned to a youth services detective at the Metro Nashville Police Department. A spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) also confirmed they are investigating while Gregory has been put on administrative leave.
“What we can confirm is that the person who suspected abuse notified DCS and immediately notified the school principal, who responded appropriately to a case of suspected child abuse against a school employee,” said Michelle Michaud, public information officer for Metro schools.
Of how many times the boy specifically remembered being placed in a locker, Mumford said, “He counted on his fingers for me, ‘one, two, three,’ and he did that three different times when I asked it. His mother says he said the phrase, ‘If you’re good, you get hugs. If you’re bad, you get locker.'”
“I am concerned that this may have happened to other students, and I think that there needs to be more transparency,” Mumford added, as this complaint is the first to be filed. Another parent of a child who was in Gregory’s class a few years prior agrees. “I feel like the school should have notified everyone and let them know,” Amanda Brooks said. “I don’t think that teacher needs to be there if she is doing all of that.” She said her child didn’t seem to have had any issues in while in the woman’s class.
The family is hoping more witnesses to the abuse will come forward and share their stories, so authorities are able to take proper action.
The lawsuit has drawn additional attention to the already tarnished reputation of the district. School officials are also battling four unrelated lawsuits accusing the district of not properly responding to student-on-student sexual misconduct.