Family brings lawsuit after student denied bathroom

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by CRAIG CIVALE

WFAA

Posted on October 26, 2011 at 9:57 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 28 at 2:26 PM

DeSOTO — DeSoto ISD is trying to resolve a lawsuit with a family who claims their elementary school student was not allowed to use a restroom, which allegedly caused a serious rash around his eyes.

The incident happened in December 2008 at Ruby Young Elementary School. Bryant Russell, 11, was in gym class, when his family says the fifth grader asked a teacher to use the restroom because he was going to vomit.

His family said Bryant was denied three times by multiple teachers.
 
“He told me, 'Grammy, I kept swallowing my vomit, I swallowed it four times until the end of class, I ran to the bathroom,'" said his grandmother Theresa Stumon.

When he came out of the bathroom, his classmates said he had red rings around his eyes.

A rash the family later learned was periorbital petechiae, or broken blood vessels, that created red circles around his face.

His grandmother brought him to the hospital, which identified the problem and blamed it on the pressure created by Russell fighting back the urge to vomit.

Stumon, a former teacher, sued the district, asking for policy changes.

"If a child comes to you and says, 'I'm feeling sick and I need to go to the bathroom,' that child should have the privilege to go," she said.

The fifth grader had the rash around his eyes for a week, but it went away.

Over the past few months, district officials have offered the family two settlement offers.

One offer, obtained by News 8, shows the district would offer an apology to the family along with $1,500 for medical expenses.

Stumon has turned down both offers, saying the school needs to make major policy changes.

In an email to News 8, a district spokesperson said that the district has tried to work out a resolution with the family, but they have refused.

The district would not comment on whether any employees were disciplined for the incident.

E-mail ccivale@wfaa.com

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