Nidia Heston, a mother from Austin, Texas, recently sued Austin Independent School District (AISD) in a federal court. She claims a teaching assistant at Clint Small Jr. Middle School, Jennifer Hardison, injured her son by hitting him with a trashcan.
State Law Protection
In the U.S. state law prevents government institutions from spending public funds on personal injury cases. It’s commonly known as sovereign immunity. The law ensures that public schools to stick to their curriculum without worrying about accident-related liability.
The Boy’s Health Condition
Nidia stated that her son has autism and a psychological disorder; and requires special attention both at home and in school. She believes that Austin Independent School’s administration should understand her child’s condition.
The Physical Assault
On March 30, 2016, Jennifer assaulted the boy physically by throwing a trash can. Nidia requested KVUE to hide her son’s identity, as he is a minor. Court photos and records clearly showed that the child suffered injury and bled. Also, Jennifer chipped his tooth and broke his permanent trainer. Upon getting the news, Nidia rushed her son to a nearby hospital for medical attention.
All this time, the boy was crying thinking that he had violated school regulations. He blamed himself for being hit by the aide. Nidia further explained how the trashcan injured her son. She said that it would be difficult for an individual to see most injuries apart from a broken tooth.
After leaving ER, the boy discovered what had occurred. He became infuriated and fell ill. He laid down on a cold cement floor. After a while, Nidia and her son had to go back to ER and miss grandfather’s burial. He would have been the pallbearer.
Martin J. Cirkiel, Heston’s attorney, said that Nidia and her child went through a tough time. Nidia’s family sued AISD for violating Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act.
Cirkiel stated that the key role of a lawyer is to educate the judiciary and the public to protect the rights of all citizens.
Last May, KVUE defenders published a report on school districts’ immunity to personal injury cases. Nidia confessed that she didn’t expect the court to hear her lawsuit.
Over a year before the incident, Nidia requested a paraprofessional work with her child. She sought a replacement for his aide ten months before the assault. She wasn’t sure of his safety. However, AISD ignored her request.
The Court’s Verdict
Jennifer Hardison pleaded guilty to the charges and was put on probation for two years. AISD asked the court to dismiss Nidia’s lawsuit claiming she didn’t use all legislative solutions.