Education

Cases Settled on Sexting, Shock Therapy

By Mark Walsh — September 17, 2010 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

There were two interesting settlements this week in lawsuits I have reported on in the blog.

‘Sexting': A Pennsylvania school district “has settled a lawsuit alleging that a principal illegally searched a student’s cell phone, found nude pictures she had taken of herself, and turned it over to prosecutors,” the Associated Press reports.

The case involved the Tunkhannock Area School District, which was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania on behalf of a 17-year-old student whose phone was searched by a school principal. The student intended the photos to be viewed by her boyfriend.

Under the settlement, the school district denied any liability or wrongdoing but agreed to pay the student and her lawyers $33,000 to resolve the dispute, the ACLU chapter says in this news release. The student’s claims against the a prosecutor’s office were not settled and will proceed through litigation, the release said.

In March, I reported here that a federal appeals court ruled that the prosecutor likely overstepped constitutional boundaries when he threatened the student with prosecution over the alleged “sexting.”

Shock Therapy: In a separate case, “the family of a former student who received electric shocks at a special needs school has agreed to receive $65,000 to settle a lawsuit claiming the treatment was inhumane and violated the student’s civil rights,” the AP reports.

The case involves “aversive therapies” used at the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Mass. The settlement comes after a federal appeals court in 2008 ordered a lower-court to reconsider an injunction that had barred the New York State Education Department from enforcing an emergency regulation against the shock therapy, which I reported on in the blog here.

The New York State agency became involved because the Massachusetts school serves students who have been referred there as part of their special education plans. The U.S. Department of Justice said this past February that it had begun an inquiry into the school’s methods.

The school contends that parents consent to the use of shock therapy when enrolling their children in the Judge Rotenberg Center. The AP reports that settlement came in a suit filed in 2006 on behalf of Antwone Nicholson, then 17, of Freeport, N.Y., who attended the school for about four years. Nicholson’s mother, Evelyn, became concerned that the shock therapy was used in far more circumstances than she thought it would and became “inhumane,” her lawyer told AP.

The school issued a statement calling the settlement “minimal” and something requested by its insurer. The school defends its practices on its website.

A version of this news article first appeared in The School Law Blog.

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Building Teacher Capacity for Social-Emotional Learning
Set goals that support adult well-being and social-emotional learning: register today!


Content provided by Panorama
Jobs October 2021 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Gunman in 2018 Parkland School Massacre Pleads Guilty
A jury will decide whether Nikolas Cruz will be executed for one of the nation’s deadliest school shootings.
3 min read
Annika Dworet and her husband, Mitch Dworet, wipe away tears as their son's name is read aloud during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz's guilty plea on all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Dworet's son, Nicholas Dworet, 17, was killed in the massacre.
Annika Dworet and her husband, Mitch Dworet, wipe away tears as their son's name is read aloud during Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooter Nikolas Cruz's guilty plea on all 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder in the 2018 shootings, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021. The Dworet's son, Nicholas Dworet, 17, was killed in the massacre.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP
Education Briefly Stated: October 20, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Gunman in Parkland School Massacre to Plead Guilty
The gunman who killed 14 students and three staff members at a Florida high school will plead guilty to their murders, his attorneys said.
4 min read
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Parkland school shooter Nikolas Cruz is sworn in before pleading guilty, Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at the Broward County Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on all four criminal counts stemming from his attack on a Broward County jail guard in November 2018, Cruz's lawyers said Friday that he plans to plead guilty to the 2018 massacre at a Parkland high school.
Amy Beth Bennett/South Florida Sun Sentinel via AP
Education California Makes Ethnic Studies a High School Requirement
California is among the first in the nation to require students to take a course in ethnic studies to get a diploma starting in 2029-30.
4 min read
FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2020, file photo, Democratic Assembly members, from left, James Ramos, Chris Holden Jose Medina, and Rudy Salas, Jr., right, huddle during an Assembly session in Sacramento, Calif. Medina's bill to make ethnic studies a high school requirement was signed into law by California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday, Oct. 8, 2021. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)