SEATTLE (CN) - A middle school security guard pepper-sprayed a disabled special ed student in the eyes after removing the child's glasses, his trustee says in a class action complaint. The trustee says the "physically slight" 14-year-old boy functions "at the level of a 5 year old." and the school violated state law, which allows pepper spray only in self-defense.
The trustee says the boy, a dependent of the state, was upset about missing a field trip. She says the security guard forced him to the ground, asked if he "wanted some of this," and then sprayed him in the eyes.
She sued the Highline School District in King County Court.
The litigation guardian claims a substitute teacher could not find a permission slip for the child, "C.M.," so he became agitated.
"While C.M. was restrained to the chair, the school security officer got out his 'OC' pepper spray and asked C.M. if he 'wanted some of this?!'," according to the complaint. "The school security officer then proceeded to force C.M. to the ground, warned other school personnel to leave the area, removed C.M.'s eyeglasses, and then sprayed the pepper spray at close range into C.M.'s eyes and face."
The child then needed medical attention for an allergic reaction.
The guardian says Washington state bans the use of chemical restraints, including pepper spray, against children.
The student represents a class of disabled students at Highline Public Schools who face being restrained with pepper spray.
The guardian says incident "exacerbated the symptoms of his disability." She seeks punitive damages for negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and an injunction.
The student is represented by Thomas Burke of Des Moines, Wash.