School district hit with discrimination claim
November 25, 2006
A former Park City High School student who has cerebral palsy is suing the school district for an unspecified amount of damages after she was confined to a wheelchair following an alleged fall at the school about two years ago.
Officials at the district violated the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 when they did not provide the student, Jayci Robb, with "meaningful access to the programs and activities" at the school, the lawsuit states.
"[The law] prohibits school districts, from discriminating against a qualified individual with a disability in the provision of services, programs, or activities of a pubic entity by reason of such disability," a 5-page complaint filed on behalf of Robb Nov. 7 against the Park City School District states.
By not removing "architectural barriers" from the school that limit the movements of students with disabilities, officials violated federal law by discriminating against Robb on April 15 and May 24, 2004.
Robb was walking inside the school with friends about two years ago when she fell through a vent that "was not securely fastened, or was missing, causing [Robb’s] left foot to get caught in the vent hole," Robb’s complaint states.
"Because [Robb’s] foot was stuck in the vent hole, [Robb] fell and sustained serious injury to her left foot," the lawsuit states.
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About a month later, Robb was attempting to pass through a set of double doors at the school in her wheelchair when they closed on her leg, fracturing her right heel bone, Robb’s complaint states.
Her nervous system was damaged and Robb sustained permanent injuries as a result of the school district’s negligence, according to the lawsuit.
"The exact amount of such general damages is unknown at this time," Robb’s complaint states.
The doors that closed on Robb’s leg were not wheelchair accessible in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, she claims in the lawsuit.
"[The district] knew or should have known of these acts and omissions and its failure to remedy this discrimination," states Robb’s attorney, Randall K. Spencer, who adds that Robb was discriminated against "intentionally, or with deliberate indifference."
Facing a budget crisis, the school could be compelled by the lawsuit to dole out thousands of dollars in damages.
"[The school district’s] conduct constitutes ongoing and continuous violations [and] has harmed and injured [Robb] in the past and the harm will continue into the future, causing damages in an as yet undetermined amount," Robb’s complaint states.
District officials this week had not formally responded to Robb’s claims in Third District Court in the Snyderville Basin.
"We talked about this case some time ago," said Kim Carson, vice president of the Park City School District board.
Acting Superintendent Tom VanGorder was not immediately available for comment.