By David Ibata
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A father has filed a $10.5 million lawsuit against the Fulton County schools, holding teachers and administrators responsible for the death last year of an 18-year-old special needs student, Channel 2 Action News reported.
Aaron Hatcher, who had muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy and could not talk or walk on his own, died last March after a teacher at Roswell High School allegedly fabricated a neck brace and made the youth wear it.
The suit contends the student suffered repeated abuse at the hands of the special needs teacher, including the neck brace. The litigation names several dozen defendants including Fulton County School Board members.
"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,” Aaron’s father, Ronald Hatcher, told Channel 2.
Trey Sauls, the father's attorney, said the teacher “fastened this neck brace not for any medical reason but to force his neck in a position to look at her. … In turning his head in this position, it restricted his airway. In essence, it stopped him from breathing.”
The father has said the restraint led to several emergency room trips from school when Aaron stopped breathing. On March 19, after being released from the hospital, the teen died at home.
Sauls said that the unauthorized neck restraint led to the student’s death.
A Fulton County schools spokesman told Channel 2 that school officials had not seen the lawsuit and had no comment on it.