• $10.5 million abuse lawsuit filed against Fulton schools

    By: Tom Regan


    The father of a special-needs student who died last year has filed a $10.5 million lawsuit against Fulton County Schools claiming negligence and abuse.

    Ronald Hatcher's son, Aaron, who was 18 years old, suffered from muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy and could not speak or walk. Hatcher told Channel 2’s Tom Regan that a special-needs teacher at Roswell High School placed an improvised restraint around his son's neck when he was in class.

    "She fastened this neck brace not for any medical reason, but to force his neck in a position to look at her." said family attorney Trey Sauls.

    The neck brace obstructed the student's breathing and resulted in several medical emergencies and transport to a hospital, according to Sauls.

    "I wanted it to stop. I even said in my email, ‘If you don't stop this, he's going to die.’ They did nothing," Hatcher said.

    Following a medical emergency in March 2011, Aaron died at home. The family's attorney said the medically unauthorized brace contributed to the teen's death.

    "In turning his head in this particular position, it restricted his airway. In essence, it stopped him from breathing," Sauls said.

    The lawsuit alleges negligence in the teen's death, abuse and assault when he was a middle school student.
    Hatcher told Regan he wants justice for his son and others.

    "I want people to know this has got to stop. Special-needs kids have a voice and we are that voice,” Hatcher said.

    A Fulton County Schools spokesman said the district has not seen the lawsuit and had no comment.

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