Parents of teen severely injured at school speak out
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Jefferson County Public Schools recently agreed to pay $1.75 million to the family of a 16-year-old boy who suffered a life threatening injury at school.
Brennan Long, who has autism, had both of his femurs broken in multiple pieces. For one week he was in the PICU at Kosair Children's Hospital.
"He had to receive two blood transfusions. Had a partially collapsed lung. Later ended up with acute pancreatitis. Blood in urine," Brennan's father, Brian Long, said.
Brennan also spent 25 days at Frazier Rehab. For 42 days he couldn't walk.
But what happened to Brennan? In November 2014, Brennan's parents were told he was physically restrained at the Binet School, a JCPS school which serves children with learning disabilities.
According to a report from the Cabinet of Health and Family services, teachers aide Sherman Williams placed Brennan in a cradle assist because Brennan was upset and bit his arm. His parents question how that restraint could have led to Brennan's severe, life threatening injuries.
"These are extremely fast, high torsion twisting type of fractures. Lots of force momentum and weight. Typically, these occur in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, falls. Not at a school and not from a restraint," Brian Long said.
"Just like living your worst nightmare could never imagine this happening to your child. And someone could do this to your child and to see him suffer was really hard," his mother, Kim Long, said.
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What frustrates the Longs is investigations by the Louisville Metro Police Department's Crimes against Children and the Cabinet for Health and Family Services were closed without getting clear answers as to how the breaks happened. Aide Sherman Williams also refused to be interviewed by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
JCPS sent WAVE 3 News a statement that reads: "The district entered into a settlement with the family, and it is under seal by order of the judge. Therefore, it would be inappropriate to comment further."
"They're unable to explain how both of Brennan's femurs were fractured. Almost as if they pretend it didn't happen," Brian Long said.
The Longs said they have never had to restrain their son at home and they were unaware the Binet School even used restraints.
JCPS has been reviewing discrepancies in reporting of restraints and seclusions but Brian Long said that is not the issue.
"What we shouldn't accept and shouldn't tolerate is that there are 4,400 restraints a year. In this county. In the JCPS School System," Brian Long said.
The Longs said as a result of the incident Brennan suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and has to wear special orthotics in his shoes. They have since moved him to a private school.
JCPS confirmed the five adults who were in the classroom at the time, including Williams, are all still at the Binet School.
An outside group, the Child Fatality and Near Fatality External Review Panel, has looked at this case. They have determined more information is needed and will take it up again at their July meeting.
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