Family Sues After Photo of Autistic Child Was Taken in School Bathroom and Posted on Social Media

A family is suing the Charleston County School District after another student took photos of their autistic daughter in the school restroom and posted it on social media.

The family’s daughter is on the autism spectrum and has a speech and language impairment and a disability. She requires an adult in the bathroom to help make sure she does things like closing the stall door to protect her privacy.

According to the lawsuit, the photos were taken in the West Ashley High School restroom during their child’s ninth-grade year. At the time, an IEP was in place requiring that an adult supervise her in the restroom, but it appears that no adult was with her this time when she visited the school bathroom.

Photo: Adobe Stock/Rosco

On or near November 24th, 2019, the girl was sent to the restroom alone. While she was there, the suit alleges that another student entered the restroom and took one or more photographs of the girl while she used the restroom with the stall door open.

The student later posted a photo to Snapchat to make fun of her. When an assistant principal was made aware of the existence of the photo on social media, she notified the school resource officer.

However, the family claims the school district failed to do anything to stop the bullying of their daughter and protect her from becoming a victim, even though there was an IEP plan in place that addressed the issue and was supposed to prevent something like this from happening.

Photo: Adobe Stock/Anatoliy

The lawsuit claims the school district and its employees are guilty of negligence. It seeks unspecified compensation for the damage done to the family’s daughter.

Individualized Education Plans are an important way that parents of students with disabilities and certain conditions can ensure that their children are being properly educated and protected in an educational setting. As we see in this case, when the guidelines of an IEP are not followed, students can suffer. We hope this incident is a lesson to educators everywhere about the importance of following IEPs to the letter so that children can learn effectively and safely in their schools.

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