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Reid v. Prince George's County Board of Education

United States District Court, D. Maryland

October 8, 2014

MYESHIA REID, Plaintiff,
v.
PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION, et al., Defendants

For Myeshia Reid, Plaintiff: Mary V McNamara Koch, LEAD ATTORNEY, Murphy Firm, Baltimore, MD; Mark Clifton Iarossi Miller, Law Office of Nancy L Miller, Clinton, MD; Nikoletta Sara Mendrinos, Murphy Falcon and Murphy PA, Baltimore, MD.

For Prince George's County Board of Education, Jane Spence, Mary Williams, Kimberly Boone, Defendants: Abbey Gail Hairston, Shana Rae Ginsburg, Thatcher Law Firm LLC, Greenbelt, MD.

Page 602

MEMORANDUM OPINION

THEODORE D. CHUANG, United States District Judge.

This is a civil rights and state tort action filed by Myeshia Reid against the Prince George's County Board of Education (" Board" ) and three of its employees: Jane Spence, Principal of Bowie High School; Mary Williams, a school bus driver; and Kimberly Boone, a school bus aide. Before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 13, in which Defendants assert tat Reid's claims are time-barred, that Reid failed to exhaust her administrative remedies, and that Reid lacks the capacity to bring this suit on her own behalf. For the reasons set forth below. Defendants' Motion to Dismiss is denied.

BACKGROUND

In 2006, Reid, then a minor, was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (" PTSD" ), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (" ADHD" ), and Emotional Disturbance (" ED" ), the consequences of a childhood marred by " prolonged abuse and neglect." Compl. ¶ 1. These conditions were " well documented" in Reid's school records. Id. As a result of her conditions, Reid had " volatile" emotional and physical outbursts when agitated. Id. ¶ 2. Between 2006 and 2008, while attending Eisenhower

Page 603

Middle School, Reid had multiple such outbursts. Id. Reid would " reach an emotionally fevered pitch, bang her head against walls, and throw herself about." Id. As a result of these incidents, Eisenhower staff recommended that Reid be placed in " highly structured and controlled environments " Id.

In the fall of 2008, Reid entered high school, but " bounc[ed]" from school to school because of her behavioral difficulties. Id. ¶ 3. At times, Reid's outbursts were so severe that school officials called in the Sheriff's Office to help contain and calm her. Id. In May 2009, while Reid was enrolled at Duvall High School, a school psychologist confirmed the prior PTSD, ADHD, and ED diagnoses. Id. Based on that evaluation and Reid's continued difficulties, the Board decided to transfer Reid to Bowie High School (" BHS" ) for 10th grade. Id. ¶ 4. BHS was better equipped to provide Reid the more structured environment that she required. Id. Because BHS was several miles from Reid's home, the Board would also provide Reid daily bus transportation. Id.

Reid began attending BHS in August 2009, taking the bus to and from school. Id. ¶ 5. On those rides, the bus was staffed with a driver and an aide. Id. ¶ 6. During the ride, Reid was not restrained--such as with a harness or seat belt--in any way. Id. ¶ 8. Once at school, Reid received a " host of special education services; " however, she continued to have " uncontrollable physical outbursts" when agitated. Id. ¶ 5. At some point between August 2009 and February 2011, Reid had such an episode while on the bus, which culminated with her making an unsuccessful attempt to get off the bus while it was still in motion. Id. ¶ ¶ 7, 12.

On the morning of March 1, 2011, Reid boarded the school bus in an " agitated and volatile" state. Id. ¶ 9. Both Williams and Boone were on the bus, with Williams behind the wheel and Boone working as the assigned aide. Id. ¶ 10. Boone knew of Reid's behavioral difficulties, including that Reid had previously tried to exit a moving bus. Id. ¶ 12. Despite this knowledge and Reid's demeanor that morning, neither Boone nor Williams attempted to calm Reid down before resuming the bus route. Id. ¶ 10. With the bus underway, Reid demanded to be let off. Id. ¶ 9. Williams " ignor[ed]" Reid's request and continued on the route. Id. ¶ 10. Reid then attempted to exit the bus through its front door, prompting Boone to try to restrain her. Id. ¶ 11. Unable to get Reid under control, and with the bus still moving, Boone asked " another disabled student" on the bus to help her restrain Reid. Id. Boone and the student struggled with Reid, but she eluded them and darted to the back of the bus. Id. Once there, she opened the rear emergency door and leapt out, with the bus still in motion. Id. Reid hit the ground head first. Id. Williams stopped the bus. and she and Boone summoned emergency services. Id. ¶ 13. At some point, Boone noted that Reid had " done this once before," and remarked that Reid was " crazy." Id. ¶ 12.

When the emergency medical technicians arrived. Reid was unconscious and bleeding from her mouth and ears. Id. ¶ 13. She was transported to Doctor's Hospital where a CT scan revealed that she had substantial skull and brain injuries: multiple skull fractures, bleeding between the brain and its surrounding tissue, and a dangerous increase in her brain's water content. Id. The pressure exerted on the brain as a result of these fluids caused her brain to shift four millimeters past its normal position, a shift that ...


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