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  • Jefferson Adams

    Lawsuit Filed After Child with Autism and Celiac Disease Dragged Down School Hallway

    Jefferson Adams


    Reviewed and edited by a celiac disease expert.

      A school in Kentucky is under scrutiny after a video showed a teacher and nurse dragging a boy down a long hallway.


    Caption: Autism matters demonstration. Image: CC BY 2.0--QUOI Media

    Celiac.com 12/27/2019 - School surveillance video of a nurse and teacher dragging a child with autism, celiac disease, and assorted other physical issues down a hallway has shocked concerned parents and authorities in Lexington Kentucky, where the incident took place.

    According to the boy's mother, Jo Grayson, her 11-year-old son, Thatcher, has autism, epilepsy, celiac disease and hyper-mobility according to news reports. Thatcher is largely non-verbal. Grayson said the incident at Tates Creek Middle School left Thatcher with cuts and bruises across his upper body.



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    A video, provided by Grayson, appears to show a boy refusing to get up. The nurse and teacher then pick up the boy and his service dog and drag them down a long hallway.

    According to Grayson, Thatcher was "having a meltdown...[and] refused to get up off the gym floor." She said that the "teacher had messaged me that they had to pick him off of the gym floor earlier in the day. But she did not say that he was dragged down the hallway.”

    A statement from the Fayette County School district reads: “We are committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of our students and take any and all reports of this nature seriously. While we cannot discuss individual personnel matters, we can say that in a situation involving these types of allegations, we would make a report to the cabinet for health and family services and place the employee involved on administrative leave until the investigation is complete.”

    A statement from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, which employs the nurse, reads: “A school health nurse has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation. We continue to work with Fayette County Public Schools to investigate the matter. We cannot comment further at this time.”

    Since Thatcher is non-verbal, it took some time before Grayson noticed the cuts and abrasions on his body, she said.

    The video was released sometime after the Sept. 18, 2018, and a lawsuit was filed on September 13th, 2019. The lawsuit said that as a result of the dragging, Thatcher was seriously injured physically and mentally, with injuries to his stomach, back and left shoulder.

    The lawsuit alleges that the school failed to adequately train staff on appropriate supervision of students, including those with special needs.

    Certainly, this type of thing should never happen to any student in any school anywhere. That it happened to a child with special needs is especially heartbreaking. 

    Learn more at Live5News.com

    Edited by Jefferson Adams


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    this was a horrifying incident. those people should be prosecuted. if you are a child caretaker you should be emotionally and mentally equipped to deal with these situations. if you can't- you are in the wrong business. if that happened to one of my children i would absolutely sue them- that is terrible abuse. 

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    Sadly, some teachers feel they can treat a student with autism, especially those who are non verbal any old way because the child can't tell on them. A great many autistic children have a intolerance for noise and light, both of which will trigger a meltdown. The nurse should have known better. If it was that bad, they should have called for someone who could better handle the situation. Luckily he didn't have an epileptic seizure.

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  • About Me

    Jefferson Adams is Celiac.com's senior writer and Digital Content Director. He earned his B.A. and M.F.A. at Arizona State University, and has authored more than 2,500 articles on celiac disease. His coursework includes studies in science, scientific methodology, biology, anatomy, medicine, logic, and advanced research. He previously served as SF Health News Examiner for Examiner.com, and devised health and medical content for Sharecare.com. Jefferson has spoken about celiac disease to the media, including an appearance on the KQED radio show Forum, and is the editor of the book "Cereal Killers" by Scott Adams and Ron Hoggan, Ed.D.

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