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Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Student Says Teachers Beat Him Over Phone

(CN) - A former student at a Virginia academy for disabled and at-risk youth claims in court that teachers beat him and put him in closet.

In a complaint filed in Newport News Circuit Court on Jan. 28, Shawn Williams claims that he was speaking on his cell phone to his grandmother on the morning Jan. 19, 2012, when his homeroom teacher at the East End Academy demanded he turn over his phone.

Williams says class had not yet started for the day, and that he was speaking to his grandmother at a time when students were allowed to use their phones.

Williams says he refused to turn over his phone, and this led to a physical altercation with defendant teachers James Hamlin and Vian Irving that left him with cuts, bruises, welts and abrasions.

He also contends the entire incident transpired in front of defendant East End founder Ruby Eley.

Williams says that after the altercation, he was locked in a closet for three hours without explanation or medical treatment.

Williams goes on to claim that once he was released from the closet, the defendants drove him to his grandmother's store in Hampton, Va., and pushed him from the vehicle.

According to the complaint, the Newport News Department of Social Services conducted an investigation into the incident, and on March 26, 2012, found that Hamlin and Irving had either harmed or threatened harm to Williams and placed them on the department's Child Abuse and Neglect Registry.

Williams seeks $10 million in compensatory damages and $350,000 in punitive damages on claims of physical assault and infliction of emotional distress.

He is represented by Kevin Shea of Hampton, Va.

Representatives of the defendants declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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