Riverside High vice principal, sheriff’s deputy named in civil rights suit
Andrew Johnson, vice principal at Riverside High School, and Cpl. Richard Lane are named as co-defendants in a civil rights suit filed by Betsy Frame. In her suit, filed September 10th in Kanawha Circuit Court, Frame alleges Johnson and Lane falsely imprisoned and arrested her daughter, a special education student, nearly two years ago when they mistook her reaction to waking up from a seizure-induced nap as an act of aggression.
Frame’s daughter, identified as B.D., as early as 2009 was diagnosed with epilepsy, Asperger’s Syndrome, attention deficit, social anxiety and seizure disorders. Prior to enrolling her at Riverside for the 2011-12 school year, Frame worked with the Board of Education in developing an independent education plan for B.D.
The IEP made references that a symptom of B.D.’s Asperger’s Syndrome caused her to be “selectively mute – rarely speaking to anyone regardless of the interaction.” Also, her epilepsy caused B.D. to sometimes go into a “sleeping seizure” whereby she would appear asleep and, upon awakening “appear to be dazed, confused and disoriented.”
According to the suit, B.D. on November 18th, 2011, at about 7:30 a.m. experienced a sleeping seizure in Riverside’s special education classroom. Johnson was summoned to the classroom when the teacher, who is not identified in the complaint, was unable to get a response from her.
About 15 minutes later, Johnson arrived in the classroom with Lane, who is assigned to Riverside as its prevention resource officer. Instead of inquiring about her medical status, the suit claims they gave B.D. “multiple warnings to awaken and come down to the office.”
After Johnson was unable to get a response from B.D. after tapping her on the shoulder at least once, “Lane then issued several other verbal commands for B.D. to sit up and then proceeded to tap her on the shoulder,” the suit says. When that proved unsuccessful, Lane “placed his hand on her elbow and further asked her to go to the office.”
This caused B.D. to be awakened from her seizure whereupon she smacked Lane’s arm. In response, Lane placed his hand under her right bicep and jerked her completely out of her chair, then placed her under arrest by throwing her to the ground, face down and forcibly placing her hands in cuffs behind her back.
Following her arrest, Lane took B.D. to his cruiser and bound her legs with zip ties before later transporting her to Kanawha Magistrate Court where he charged her with battery on a police officer, obstructing and disturbance of schools. Though the charges were later dismissed on an unspecified date, B.D. was subsequently suspended from Riverside.
The arrest and suspension, Frame says, have had a devastating impact on B.D.’s health as she now disengages in the world around her due to her selective mutism and not only remains unable to sleep alone at night, but also is afraid of male authority figures and people in uniform. Also, Frame maintains she’s experienced unspecified health-related problems from attending numerous administrative hearings and medical appointments for B.D. since that date.
I hope you’ll take a moment to consider just what it is that you are paying for via taxation – and speak out against the corruption.
Until next week, stay safe and remember that badges don’t grant extra rights.