Education

Lexington Traditional Magnet School student's parents sue, accusing teacher of harming their son

Lexington  Traditional Magnet School (LTMS), Lexington, Ky., on Aug. 13, 2014.
Lexington Traditional Magnet School (LTMS), Lexington, Ky., on Aug. 13, 2014. Lexington Herald-Leader

The parents of a student at Lexington Traditional Magnet School are suing a teacher and Fayette County Public Schools, alleging that the teacher physically harmed their son.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Fayette Circuit Court, Charles and Lori Dreux claim that John Foley, a math teacher, caused pain and emotional fear and suffering to their 13-year-old son.

The lawsuit says the student was wearing a sling in the class on Sept. 25 for a broken collarbone when the teacher harmed him.

Near the end of the class, the student and another male student "began engaging in horseplay of a teasing nature," the suit said.

The suit said the behavior between the two boys was not fighting, arguing or even roughhousing.

At that time, the suit said, the teacher grabbed the Dreuxes' son, pushed him against a door, wrestled him to the floor and then sat on his chest while applying pressure to the broken collarbone.

The teacher's conduct was "outrageous, beyond the bounds of acceptable or reasonable classroom management techniques in dealing with student horseplay, and reckless," the suit says.

The suit said that before then, Foley had been the subject of numerous complaints to Fayette County Public School administrators regarding inappropriate comments and touching of students.

The state's Education Professional Standards Board had warned Foley, the lawsuit said, "for engaging in unprofessional horseplay with students."

It also said Foley had admitted to the Fayette County superintendent that he had made sexually suggestive comments and engaged in horseplay with a student involving kicking and dragging the student on the gym floor while the student held on to his ankle.

Foley was required to receive counseling and forfeit three days' pay, the lawsuit said.

Because of that case and other complaints made by students and parents against Foley, the school system should have foreseen his behavior with the Dreux child, the lawsuit said.

The suit, handled by Lexington attorney Scott White, said the student is entitled to unspecified compensatory and punitive damages from the defendant and the school system. It also asks for a trial before a jury.

Superintendent Tom Shelton said through Fayette schools spokeswoman Lisa Defendall that he hasn't yet been served with the lawsuit.

Defendall said Wednesday that Foley is no longer a teacher in the school system. She said she could not elaborate.

Foley could not be reached for comment.

White, the couple's attorney, said his clients decided to proceed with the suit "to be sure this does not happen again to any other child.

"It's unfortunate that the school system did not take action against this teacher. We're talking about accountability here," White said.

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