Ardmore City Schools is one step closer to the conclusion of a lawsuit that began last year.
The case involves a former Ardmore City Schools’ student who is referred to as “Student A” for anonymity’s sake. The student, who is autistic and mostly nonverbal, recorded video and audio evidence of alleged mistreatment from staff members on a device called a “Talker” which helped the student communicate.
At Tuesday’s school board meeting, the board voted on and approved a partial settlement agreeing to pay no more than $30,000 to cover the plaintiffs’ legal fees.
“The amount cannot exceed that by statute because of past agreements made by the previous board and administration,” ACS superintendent Kim Holland said. “This is just us saying ‘okay, we’re ready to move on,’ and their attorney is ready to move on, too.”
The student’s parents filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma against the district last year, citing the recordings and a series of incidents as far back as 2013 allegedly violating Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which protects elementary and secondary school students with disabilities. Holland became superintendent after former superintendent Sonny Bates’ departure last year.
“This is a good thing to get behind us, and it’s also taught us some things as far as serving our community and how to take care of the needs of our students and so forth,” Holland said. “Not only taking care of them, but documenting things in a better way.”