Parents claim abuse, file lawsuit against JCPS
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - You could sense Charles and Savanna Hall's emotion as they signed a lawsuit Tuesday morning.
"I mean we were upset," Charles Hall said.
Their attorney, Ted Gordon, filed the lawsuit in District Court.
The suit is against a Stopher Elementary teacher, the director of the early childhood program and JCPS.
The Halls claim their 4-year-old daughter was a victim of abuse in the classroom during the 2017-2018 school year.
The Halls are asking for $5,000, essentially a return on their tuition money.
JCPS released the following statement:
"It is a tuition-based preschool program classroom. It is totally separate and apart from Head Start. We have not reviewed the lawsuit, and JCPS does not comment on pending litigation.
Lauren Hallinan has not been employed by the district since April of 2018. She resigned."
"She's a 4-year-old," Charles Hall said. "She loves school you know they want to go to school."
However, the Halls said around September, they noticed drastic changes in their daughter's behavior.
The changes included bet wetting, aggression and refusing to go to school.
Court documents show in December of 2017, the Office of Compliance and Investigators received a request for an investigation into the Hall's daughters' teacher, Lauren Hallinan.
The investigator cited several instances of verbal abuse such as the teacher excessively yelling at students, criticizing religion and race, and in one instance told a student, "I would say my dog understands better than you."
Hallinan denied those claims.
"Our biggest complaint was that they never told us what was going on," Charles Hall said. "We needed to know what was going on."
The Halls said they didn't learn of an investigation until earlier this year and eventually received a letter notifying of Hallinan's removal in April.
The document didn't offer further explanation.
The lawsuit comes as JCPS faces scrutiny over their preschool and Head Start programs. The district also walked away from the $15 million in federal funding.
An August report outlined several claims of physical abuse against students. Though these claims are not as extreme, Gordon is confident in their case.
"I wouldn't file it unless I thought I could win it," Gordon said.
The Halls daughter is still enrolled in JCPS. They said she will not be returning to Stopher Elementary next year.
Gordon and the Halls held a press conference concerning the lawsuit Tuesday morning, which can be viewed below:
This story will be updated.
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