School Pays Autistic Children $590,000.00

August 24, 2012
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
School district pays $590,000 in settlement

Trevon Milliard

By TREVON MILLIARD
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

Five autistic children whose families contend the Clark County School District kept an abusive teacher in the classroom despite repeated complaints will receive shares of a $590,000 lawsuit settlement. 
The settlement was unanimously approved Thursday night by the Clark County School Board. 

The teacher, Mamie Hubbard-Washington, 67, was accused of hitting, scratching and verbally abusing the children from the time she took over the Reed Elementary School class in January 2006. In February, a jury convicted the teacher of five felony counts of child abuse and neglect.

According to the federal court lawsuit brought against the district, the teacher smashed a student's face into a desktop, chipping his tooth. It also said she forced another student's face into a garbage can, struck a student with a hairbrush, scratched them and bruised them.

The children "would actually cower and cover their heads and faces with their hands whenever they saw Mamie Hubbard-Washington," the complaint read.

The children, ages 6 to 8, couldn't verbally communicate.

The parents blamed school district officials for inaction and filed a lawsuit.

The parents said they reported abuse throughout 2006 and early 2007 to the principal and others at the school, near Jones Boulevard and Smoke Ranch Road. But the district didn't remove Hubbard-Washington until April 2007.

The district contended that it first learned of allegations on March 20, 2007, when an aide witnessed abuse. On April 10, 2007, another aide saw Hubbard-Washington "grab a child by the neck and forcibly move him," initiating a conference with the teacher six days later. That resulted in her unpaid suspension, then termination.

Despite the district's denial of parents' complaints, it settled with all five families in an Aug. 2 conference and follow-up meetings.

Contact reporter Trevon Milliard at tmilliard@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279.

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