Schoolhouse Beat

Jury awards $4.5 million to Louisiana family whose disabled 5-year-old daughter died at school

A jury has decided that the death of a 5-year-old disabled girl who suffocated while strapped to a chair in a Kenner, La., classroom was the responsibility of the Jefferson Parish School Board and the temporary employment agency that supplied the substitute teacher for her class. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that the panel awarded the parents of Elizabeth Ward $4.5 million for their claims. The Wards argued in their lawsuit that the defendants failed to supervise and provide a safe environment for their daughter, neglected to provide sufficient personnel for her classroom and didn't adequately train staff.

REACTION: A $4.5 million judgment against the Jefferson Parish School Board and Kelly Services in the death of a 5-year-old disabled student at a Kenner school is not necessarily an indictment of the school system's special education program or staff, the district says. (New Orleans Times-Picayune)

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