Lawsuit Claims Abuse and Neglect at School

A federal lawsuit brought by the parents of several students against a Kansas military school alleges multiple acts of abuse and neglect. Although fellow students committed many of the alleged acts of abuse, the lawsuit claims that adult staff members often knew about the abuse, and that some were even present for some incidents. Faculty, staff, and administrators did not intervene, according to the complaint, thus breaching their duty to protect their students. The claims are similar to claims brought for alleged nursing home abuse and neglect, since both involve a duty to care for vulnerable individuals, and liability for failure to protect people under their care from harm. This could include failures to protect nursing home residents from abuse by staff members or other residents.

A group of parents first filed suit on March 5, 2012 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. Their children were students at St. John’s Military School, a residential boarding school in Salina. The school teaches grades 6 through 12 and houses all of its students on its premises.

The plaintiffs allege that the school puts incoming students through a series of physical training and other initiation procedures, and that it places significant disciplinary authority in its senior students. This gives the older students powers over the younger students more properly exercised by adults, the complaint says. The school allegedly knows of abuses that occur within this system, including many that result in physical injury to students, but does nothing to address it.

The lawsuit charges the defendants with negligent supervision and intentional failure to supervise, alleging that the school’s failure to supervise the older students caused the plaintiffs’ children’s damages. They also seek to hold the school liable for “civil conspiracy of assault and battery,” arguing that the school acts in loco parentis for its students and therefore is liable for harms committed by students against one another, when the students causing harm are acting with authority from the school.

The complaint sets out the alleged facts for each of the plaintiffs’ children who were students at the school. One student, identified as J.M., attended the school for four days last summer. On his first day, he fell and broke his left leg. The school forced him to continue participating in intense physical activities, part of the school’s initiation. He received crutches on the third day, but was forced to stand for long periods of time. He fell in the cafeteria that day, allegedly breaking his right leg. He claims that, rather than help him, both staff and students tried to make him stand up on his own. After further alleged acts of abuse, the school finally called an ambulance on the fourth day, where x-rays revealed both legs were broken. An investigation by the state child welfare agency attributed the incident to “lack of supervision” by the school, rather than abuse.

The Maryland nursing home lawyers at Lebowitz and Mzhen help obtain compensation for people injured due to abuse or neglect by nursing home staff. Contact us today online or at (800) 654-1949 for a free and confidential consultation.

Web Resources:

Amended Complaint (PDF), Nkemakolam, et al vs. St. John’s Military School, et al, U.S. District Court, District of Kansas, March 23, 2012

More Blog Posts:

Maryland Nursing Home Staffer Pleads Guilty to Abuse of a Resident, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, February 14, 2012
Two Nursing Home Workers Lose Licenses After Alleged Beating of Resident, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, December 7, 2011
Indictments Issued in Two Separate Maryland Nursing Home Assault Cases, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, October 4, 2011

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