This story courtesy the Kingsport Times-News
Danniele Madison, on behalf of her son Hilton, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Greeneville in October 2012. Among other things, the lawsuit claimed her son was routinely led to the cafeteria by a rope and tied to a desk with an extension cord.
According to court documents, the Madison family and the board agreed to a $7,000 settlement in October, with two-thirds of the money going to the family and one-third to Madison’s attorney.
Lee Patterson, the attorney for Johnson City Schools, said the settlement was covered by insurance and no money came from school funds.
The settlement agreement does not constitute any admission of guilt or wrongdoing on the part of the board or the school system and the board continues to deny all allegations in the lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, Hilton suffered a stroke at birth resulting in his right hand and arm being unusable. The young man also has difficultly walking, has been afflicted with learning disabilities, and is prone to breathing difficulties and seizures.
Eight years ago while enrolled in the sixth-grade special education class at Indian Trail, Danniele Madison claimed her son’s teacher routinely tied him to his desk with an electrical extension cord during the school day, and when lunchtime came, the teacher led her son to the cafeteria with a rope tied to his good arm, “much like a person would lead a goat.”
The lawsuit claimed the teacher, who is Caucasian, did not similarly mistreat the Caucasian special education students.
When Madison learned of these actions and called the middle school, an employee informed her the teacher only used the strap to keep Hilton from getting lost.
The lawsuit claimed that the school sent a letter home with Hilton explaining that he had been tied to his desk for reasons Madison “would not understand.”
After reading the letter, Madison contacted the Johnson City Police Department and the Department of Children’s Services, along with the school system’s special education director and Director of Schools Richard Bales, who reportedly told her he would “get to the bottom of it.”
However, no school administrator ever “got back” to Madison, and eventually Hilton became a homebound student for the next two years.
The lawsuit claims that Hilton’s teacher was allowed to retire.
Madison claimed the actions taken against her son were deliberate and malicious, and as a result her son suffered humiliation, stress and anxiety, which aggravated his pre-existing disabilities and caused more severe medical problems.
The lawsuit claimed Hilton was hospitalized and became comatose for three weeks, and upon returning home actually died for a brief period of time before EMS revived him through CPR.
Hilton had to undergo five surgeries at the Fort Sanders Children’s Hospital in Knoxville and underwent therapy to alleviate the stress and anxiety caused by the school system’s race discrimination, the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit did not specify an amount of damages, but asked for compensatory damages for the mental and physical distress caused to Hilton.