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Saturday, May 25, 2024 | Back issues
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Sheriff Allegedly Poked Gun in Student’s Ribs

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (CN) - A Tennessee sheriff took out a revolver and pressed it against the ribs of a high-school special education student with obsessive compulsive disorder, according to a lawsuit filed in Knox County Court. The sheriff allegedly mistook the boy's treatment device for a weapon.

The student's mother claims her 16-year-old son was being bullied by two other students at Gibbs High School. He has trichotillomania, a form of OCD that causes him to pull out his hair.

She says school security officers responded by assaulting her son and taking him to the principal's office, where Knox County Sheriff J.J. Jones inspected him for weapons.

During the search, Jones allegedly found "a key ring containing a stimulus device" to treat his condition, claimed it was a deadly weapon and stuck a gun to the boy's ribs. The student was then arrested and sent overnight to Juvenile Detention Center, his mother claims.

The student was charged with carrying a weapon on school property, the suit states. The only witness listed on the petition was the assistant principal, Mike Driver, who stated that he had seen "what appeared to be a box cutter in arrestee's hand," according to the report.

A Knox County Juvenile Court judge dismissed all charges against the student at a hearing the next month, the lawsuit states.

The boy's mother is suing Knox County, its sheriff, its Board of Education, Gibbs High School, four police officers and the principal and assistant principal.

She demands $100,000 in damages for civil rights violations, false arrest, false imprisonment, assault, battery, negligent supervision and malicious prosecution.

Her attorney is Dean Hill Rivkin.

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