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Louisiana Court Upholds $185k Award for Student Forced to do 200 Push-Ups as Punishment

— February 14, 2020

The student’s kidney almost failed after finishing the bizarre punishment.

A Louisiana appeals court has upheld a $180,000 award for a McKinley High School student who was forced to perform more than 200 push-ups as a punishment.

According to The Associated Press, former McKinley student Tristen Rushing was ordered to perform 200 push-ups after arriving late to band practice in 2014. Rushing complied but wound up hospitalized, suffering muscle injuries and renal issues.

Rushing, along with his mother, Melissa, sued the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board in 2015. Their lawsuit also named as defendants McKinley High and the school’s former volunteer assistant band director, Jason Jones.

It was Jones, says The Advocate, who ordered the punishment.

“He was angry,” Rushing explained during a 2018 court session.

Legal gavel
Legal gavel; image courtesy of succo via Pixabay,

Last September, the two were awarded $185,000 in damages. But an appeals court reduced the amount, cutting back on medical reimbursement.

However, medical testimony in trial evidenced Rushing’s injuries: he’d damaged his muscles to such an extent that enzymes flooded his system, threatening his kidneys. Dr. Robert Chasuk, who treated Rushing afterward, said the teenager had an “unheard of level” of muscle enzyme at the time of intake.

“It was a threat to his kidneys,” Chasuk said.

Rushing, suggests The Associated Press, could’ve died without medical treatment.

Alongside muscle strain and renal failure, Rushing claims to have experienced drastic swelling in his arms after the incident. He also said his urine had turned “pitch-black.” And because Rushing reported the incident to school administrators, he was ostracized by his band classmates.

Jones earlier expressed regret for his choice of punishment.

“I didn’t think push-ups would be out of bounds,” Jones said in 2018, claiming he learned only later that he couldn’t order students to do push-ups.

Push-ups, Jones said, were only “a scare tactic to get [students’] attention.” He told the court that the punishment wasn’t meant to be painful—or, at the very least, not painful to the extent suffered by Rushing.

“It was a way to give them a consequence,” added band director Frank Williams.

Williams, though, went on to tell the court that he himself wouldn’t have ordered Rushing to do so many push-ups.

“I wouldn’t have given that order,” he said. “That’s a lot of push-ups. That’s not a number I would assign.

“Knowing what’s going on now, I wouldn’t think that’s a safe number,” Williams said.

Jones, adds The A.P., later apologized for the punishment, saying he wouldn’t have intentionally “done anything to hurt” a student. McKinley High School’s band director, Frank Williams, also offered an apology.


Ex-McKinley band member awarded $185,000 in push-up punishment case, jury decides

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Student hospitalized after pushup punishment gets $183K

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