Wednesday, November 29, 2023

‘FOCUS’: Ex-Landstown middle teacher convicted of assaulting student sued for $3 million

VIRGINIA BEACH — The family of a 14-year-old Landstown Middle School student whose math teacher was convicted of assault after he wrote on the boy’s forehead is suing the ex-instructor and school system for $3 million, according to court documents.

On Sept. 16, 2016, former Landstown Middle School math teacher Daniel Board grabbed the student by the head and used a marker to write “FOCUS” on the student’s forehead because the boy wasn’t paying attention to an assigned worksheet, according to a federal complaint filed on Sept. 12 in the Eastern District Court of Virginia.

The student, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, wasn’t allowed to wipe the writing off of his face until he was done with his classwork, the complaint states.

The complaint states that Board also instructed another student to hit the boy in the head every time he said something that the teacher disapproved of. The assaulted boy was hit two or three times by the student, the complaint says, and Board allegedly took a picture of him with the writing on his forehead.

Although the boy’s parents reported the incident to Landstown Middle School Principal John Parkman a few days after it happened, he allegedly did not report the incident to Virginia Beach Child Protective Services, court documents state.

On Sept. 19, Board contacted the boy’s parents and apologized to his parents. He also asked that the boy not be taken out of his class; however a few days later, the boy told his parents that he was being teased by other students because of the incident, according to court documents.

And although the boy’s parents asked for their son to be taken out of Board’s class, he wasn’t, court documents state.

According to Landstown representative Lauren Nolasco, Board only worked at the middle school for about six weeks. He began on Aug. 22, 2016, and resigned on Oct. 6, 2016 — nearly three weeks after the assault happened. The school had no further comment to make on the case.

He was arrested and charged with assault in battery in October 2016, and more than three months later, he was convicted in Virginia Beach Juvenile Domestic Relations Court, according to a court documents.

The suit — which lists Board as a defendant, as well as Parkman and the Virginia Beach City Public Schools — is being filed under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits a federal agency or one that receives federal funding from discriminating against someone with a disability.

ADHD, which can make a person hyperactive and cause them difficulty focusing, is protected under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, court documents state.

According to the complaint, the student was diagnosed with ADHD in 2011. He was on a school-approved plan to help him in the learning environment, which included him getting extra time to finish assignments, stretch and water breaks and weekly meetings with a guidance counselor.

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