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Friday, July 12, 2024 | Back issues
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Mom Blames School for Dad’s Assault on Son

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CN) - A mother sued her son's school district, claiming its staff failed to intervene when the boy's father whipped him with a belt and punched and kicked him, fracturing his skull. The boy and his father had been called to the security office at the middle school "to discuss an incident that occurred earlier in the day."

Gloria Simmons sued the City of Mount Vernon School District, three of its employees, and the boy's biological father, Dietrick McElveen, in Westchester County Court.

Simmons says her son, Ishmael Ben-Reuben, was ordered to the security office at A.B. Davis Middle School in Mount Vernon at about 3 p.m. "to discuss an incident that occurred earlier in the day."

McElveen, who is a custodial worker at the school, was waiting in the office along with three other employees, according to the complaint.

McElveen asked two of the defendant employees to leave the office, but the third one stayed and watched McElveen beat Ben-Reuben, according to the complaint.

Simmons says McElveen punched, slapped and kicked his child, and beat him with a belt.

"As a result of the assault committed by the defendant McElveen, the infant plaintiff sustained multiple injuries, including but not limited to, bruising and lacerations to the head and facial regions, a swollen eye and a fractured skull," according to the complaint.

It is unclear from the complaint whether any school employees were in the room when the boy's skull was fractured: "(A)t one point during the assault of the infant plaintiff by the defendant McElveen, defendant [Ralph] Burts left the security office, leaving the infant plaintiff alone with the defendant McElveen, allowing the defendant McElveen to continue his assault," according to the complaint.

The complaint does not state the job assignments of the defendant school employees - Burts, Murdisia Orr, and Sharon Lewis - only that they were in the security office when the incident began, and that Orr and Lewis left when McElveen asked them to.

Simmons adds that after the defendants failed to stop the assault, and failed to report it, Burts, Orr and Lewis forced Ben-Reuben to walk home.

Simmons and her son seek damages for negligence, false imprisonment, and assault and battery. They are represented by John Kelly of the Bronx.

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