Deaf family suing Northshore SD over treatment of special needs child

A deaf family is suing Northshore School District for how teachers and staff handled their kindergartner with special needs.

The lawsuit alleges that the girl’s parents – who are deaf – were repeatedly barred from seeing what was taking place in the classroom, despite laws that allow parents to observe special needs classrooms.

The suit also alleges that the district failed to properly document countless instances where the young girl was being physically restrained-- in one instance, for not wearing a mask.

"The restraints were so frequent and severe that they often resulted in physical injury and/or distress to [the child] and she was eventually diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder due to the restraint and isolation she experienced at school," the suit read.

In court documents obtained by FOX 13, the lawsuit alleges that text messages show:

"Lockwood staff expressed disappointment that (the victim) vomited from overstimulation and not COVID-19, which would have triggered quarantine procedures that prevented her from returning to school for at least 10 days," according to the lawsuit.

A lawyer for the family told FOX 13 that the girl’s mother couldn’t figure out what was going on because they would approach her without the use of sign language, which is how she communicates:

"The family feels very strongly if they were white, and if they were hearing this would not have happened," the family’s lawyer said. "They trusted the public school system to take care of their child who couldn’t communicate with them and their child was significantly harmed and they didn’t know until later—and still the district has never provided REALLY an explanation of what happened to the parents, details or even an apology for what happened."

The Northshore School District has declined to discuss the case further or answer questions from FOX 13 about it. 

In an emailed statement, the district said:

"Northshore School District is committed to ensuring the well-being and safety of each and every one of our students. We take the nature of the allegations very seriously. The District cannot further comment on ongoing litigation."