Hoboken school board to pay $25,000

Settlement reached after autistic child was allegedly improperly restrained

A socially distant Hoboken Board of Education meeting held Dec. 8. 2020
×
A socially distant Hoboken Board of Education meeting held Dec. 8. 2020

$25,000. That’s how much the Hoboken Board of Education will pay in a settlement to an autistic child who was allegedly improperly physically restrained at Wallace Elementary School starting last year.

According to the Dec. 23 complaint to approve the infant settlement agreement, the Hoboken Board of Education “failed to provide a free appropriate education and discriminated against the minor plaintiff based on her disability.”

These alleged failures include unlawful and improper use of physical restraints; failure to implement less restrictive alternatives; failure to provide a proper Behavioral Intervention Plan and/or Functional Behavior Analysis; failure to provide for properly trained staff and aides; and failure to take proper data and provide appropriate monitoring and supervision.

The complaint states that she was allegedly “subjected to the unlawful and improper use of physical restraints by several employees of the defendant Hoboken Board of Education” on three dates: Dec. 10, 2019, Jan. 2, 2020, and Feb. 24, 2020.

Claims of emotional trauma

The document, filed in Hudson County Superior Court, further states that the child was “subjected to discrimination and chronic, unabated harm and abuse resulting in psychological and emotional injury and other residuals due to the defendant’s pattern and practice of physically restraining her.”

The legal action also claims that the autistic child suffered emotional and psychological trauma.

“Due to the negligence, gross negligence, reckless conduct, and deliberate indifference to the psychological condition of the minor plaintiff, the defendant Hoboken Board of Education created an environment that was unstable and harmful to the minor plaintiff, causing the minor plaintiff increased agitation, behavioral regression, school avoidance and emotional and psychological trauma,” states the complaint to approve the infant settlement submitted by the child’s attorney Judith Weinstock.

According to the complaint, the Hoboken Board of Education has already agreed to the settlement.

Once the judgment approving the minor’s settlement is signed by Judge Joseph Isabella, $3,625 will be paid to the plaintiff’s attorneys of which $3,375 will go toward attorney fees and $250 will go to for actual disbursements, costs, and expenses.

The bulk of the settlement, $18,800, will be used for medical bills and/or approved expenditures, including reimbursement for payment of services rendered and charged by Dr. David Dean, MD, to the child’s guardian.

The net recovery of $2,575 will be paid to the child’s guardian to be held in a trust for her until she “reaches her majority,” which is 18 years old under New Jersey law.

For updates on this and other stories check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Marilyn Baer can be reached at Marilynb@hudsonreporter.com.