Scott County

Parents sue school district over dragging incident with autistic son

The parents of an autistic third-grader who was dragged down sets of stairs and a hallway have filed suit against a former Scott County teacher, principal, the superintendent and the school district.
The parents of an autistic third-grader who was dragged down sets of stairs and a hallway have filed suit against a former Scott County teacher, principal, the superintendent and the school district. tcrumbie@herald-leader.com

The parents of an autistic third-grader who was dragged down sets of stairs and a hallway have filed suit against a former Scott County teacher, principal, the superintendent and the school district.

The plaintiffs, listed as “W.E.W.” and “B.W.,” alleged that former Garth Elementary School teacher Jayson Featherston and former principal Terry Quillen were negligent in exercising reasonable care for their child after a Nov. 30 dragging incident.

The incident involved Featherston dragging the student out of his classroom by the arm, face down, because the student was passively refusing to leave, according to court documents related to the incident. Featherston then continued to drag the student “face down and face first” with one arm, down two flights of stairs and dragged the child down a second hallway in the same manner.

The lawsuit states Quillen saw the incident, but failed to prevent harm to the child.

Quillen said late last year that he saw the end of the incident and did not intervene because he was not trained in safe crisis management, a strategy used to respond to aggressive behavior in social service agencies and schools. Other employees also trained in safe crisis management witnessed the event and did not intervene, he said.

After the incident, both Quillen and Featherston resigned from their jobs with the school district.

Featherston, who was later charged with second-degree wanton endangerment in relation to the incident, pleaded guilty to the charge in February and was put on probation.

Quillen attempted to withdraw his resignation, but was denied by the school board. Quillen said he had reapplied for the Garth Elementary School principal position, but the site-based decision making council picked Damon Stefanic to be the new principal last month. Quillen has found other employment.

The lawsuit asks for compensatory and punitive damages and a jury trial.

Kevin Hub, superintendent for Scott County Schools, had no comment Monday afternoon. Quillen, who said he was unaware of the lawsuit, also had no comment.

Featherston had no comment, and referred all questions to his Lexington-based attorney, Noel Caldwell, who had not responded as of Monday afternoon.

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