Parents in Randolph County filed 13 separate lawsuits against the Randolph County Board of Education and a teacher accused of abusing students.
The plaintiffs allege that Kimberly Smith abused the students while teaching Pre-K at Beverly Elementary School, according to court documents. They have accused Smith of malicious, wanton and reckless acts and false imprisonment and the board of education of negligence.
Smith “engaged in multiple malicious acts of physical and mental abuse toward her students in the Pre-K program which exceeded the bounds of decency and appropriate discipline,” the lawsuit alleges. It goes on to accuse Smith of threatening, bullying and intimidating students.
Specifically, Smith is accused of putting students in a closet and forcing them to remain there against their will.
The lawsuit alleges that Smith violated the West Virginia Department of Education Employee Code of Conduct.
As a result of the alleged abuse, students “suffered emotional and physical trauma, mental suffering, an inability to enjoy life, annoyance and inconvenience, medical expenses and other damages,” according to court documents.
The lawsuit said the Randolph County Board of Education knew or should have known that Smith was mentally and physically abusing students and keeping them in a closet, failed to protect students from the abuse and failed to train and supervise Smith and other staff members. The principal and administrators of Beverly Elementary School also failed to train Smith and supervise her activities and allowed Smith to physically and mentally abuse students, the lawsuit alleges.
The plaintiffs go on to argue that the school board, principal and administrators failed to investigate the mistreatment of students and created an unsafe learning environment that facilitated the mental and physical abuse, and that the school board and administrators permitted the abuse, according to court documents.
Plantiffs in the case are requesting a jury trial.