Teacher Accused of Kicking Student in Testicles

CLEVELAND (CN) – An irate gym teacher at a Cleveland charter school kicked an 11-year-old student in the testicles while reprimanding his class, the boy’s mother claims in court.

Sierra Burley sued Harvard Academy Community School and its parent company, Performance Academies LLC, on Monday, claiming the K-8 charter school’s gym teacher, William Norris, kicked her son during a gym class on March 11, 2016.

According to the lawsuit filed in the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Norris was “irate” and admonishing his class when the incident with Burley’s son, referred to as J.B., occurred.

“At the time J.B. attempted to retrieve a ball Mr. Norris had picked up, Mr. Norris kicked J.B. and struck him in the testicles,” the complaint states. “J.B. thereafter experienced a small amount of blood in his urine. J.B.’s medical records reflect an abnormal ultrasound finding which possibly represents ‘small hematomas.’ J.B. had no history of blood in his urine, testicular pain, or other such issues prior to this event with Mr. Norris.”

Burley says her son is a good student who was not engaged in disruptive or violent behavior when Norris kicked him.

Harvard Academy reportedly fired Norris on the same day the alleged assault occurred.

The lawsuit does not state what specific activities the gym class was engaging in at the time of the incident, but an enrollment application available on the school’s website shows that the school’s health and fitness regimen includes martial arts classes and padded sparring sessions.

The Ohio Department of Education gave the Harvard Academy failing grades in four of six categories evaluated for the school’s 2015-2016 report card. The other two categories on the report card were not rated at all.

Burley and her son are suing the charter school and its former gym teacher for assault and battery, negligent hiring, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, and loss of consortium.

They seek compensatory damages in excess of $25,000, as well as punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and any other relief the court deems equitable.

Burley and her son are represented by Paul Cristallo of the Cleveland-based law firm Cristallo & LaSalvia.

Harvard Academy did not immediately respond Tuesday to a phone call requesting comment.

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