Jury trial set in Open Door School civil rights case

Published 10:03 am Thursday, September 17, 2009

CHESAPEAKE — A Chesapeake woman’s lawsuit against the Lawrence County Board of Developmental Disabilities alleging her autistic son’s civil rights were violated while a student at Open Door School, has been set for a jury trial beginning on Sept. 27, 2010.

U.S. District Judge Michael R. Barrett ordered the date, according to documents recently submitted in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati. The complaint, filed by Donna Hundley, 115 Twp. Rd 287, was submitted in federal court on June 9.

Hundley’s 11-year-old son, who had been diagnosed with autism, cerebral palsy and ADHD, suffers from a variety of medical issues including chronic migraine headaches; sleep disorder and spasticity in his limbs.

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He had been a student at the school from 2004 to 2008.

Among the allegations in the suit are claims that meetings held at Open Door were in violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; that there was no reading curriculum geared to autistic children; that the child’s teachers had no special education certification while teaching him; and that the child, who had a history of disrobing, was strapped naked to a chair and carried from a classroom to the principal’s office.

The board denies that the meetings were in violation of IDEA and that there was no reading curriculum and that “based upon knowledge or lack of knowledge, the allegations” concerning the child being carried naked from a classroom.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and names board superintendent Paul Mollett, Open Door principal Kendra Kelley, speech therapist Daniel Honaker and teachers, Vanessa Honaker, Glenda Deering and Carrie Blevins, in their official and individual capacities.

Nearly five months before the start of the trial, Barrett established a settlement conference between both parties for April 30, 2010.

An Aug. 13 filing shows that both a settlement demand and a response have been made regarding the case.

Kenneth Myers, a Cleveland-based attorney, represents Hundley. Means, Bichimer, Burkholder & Baker of Columbus represents the defendants.