One of our lawyers at Andrews Ersoff & Zantello, Isaac Ersoff, is co-counsel
for a 4-year-old special education student in a negligence suit against
the Tillamook County School District. The bus driver, Gwen Russell, picked
up the child from home at 7:30 a.m. for a ride to Head Start. Russell
then dropped off all the other students and never stopped at Head Start
at all, instead parking the bus at the district transportation department’s
bus barn for repairs. The 4-year-old was left in the back of the bus at
about 8:15 a.m., confined inside the bus and strapped into the car seat.
The child was both asleep and unsupervised for at least another hour.
The school never notified the student’s mother, Laura Pozos Leon,
that her child was missing. It wasn’t until Leon showed up at Head
Start for a scheduled student field trip at about 9:10 a.m. that she understood
her child had never arrived at school. Leon immediately called the bus
driver from Head Start and demanded to know what had happened. The driver
responded with alarm, rushing to check on the child, who was still confined
inside the parked bus.
Russell was supposed to check the entire bus for any children, belongings,
and for cleanliness before leaving the bus parked after the morning route.
She was also expected to leave a marker inside the windshield to indicate
the check had been done. However, the driver had done neither. Russell
admitted to the police that she had forgotten the child was there and
had neglected procedures.
The lawsuit names Northwest Regional Education Service District, Community
Action Team Inc., Tillamook Head Start, Gwen Russell, Jay Marugg (the
transportation and maintenance supervisor for the Tillamook County School
District), and Tillamook County School Superintendent Randy Schild as
defendants. The suit was filed partly to ensure the protection of students
while under the care of public officials and seeks economic damages for
medical, therapy, and other expenses. It also seeks non-economic damages
for pain and suffering and punitive damages.
If you need legal counsel for a case in education, talk to our experienced
special education attorney at Andrews Ersoff & Zantello. Isaac Ersoff
is one of America’s leading authorities in special education law and
education law. Trust him with your case.
Contact us at (541) 902-3044 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case