Norwalk parents threaten to sue city schools for online video of child
NORWALK — Parents of a Norwalk Public Schools student intend to sue the district alleging that a video was taken of their son during a behavioral incident and posted by his teacher to social media platforms without their consent.
On Wednesday, the Shelton-based Forte Law Group filed a “preservation of evidence” order and “statutory notice of claim” with the city and with Norwalk Public Schools, alleging that the posting constitutes a violation of civil rights, invasion of privacy, eavesdropping, voyeurism, and unlawful dissemination of intimate images, among other charges.
The notice of claim, stemming from a Jan. 18 incident, names the “Town of Norwalk and its agents, including the superintendent of schools, school principal, vice principal and others,” along with the teacher, in the filings, saying that the video violates Board of Education policy.
“By definition, town and school officials have pledged and are charged with ensuring that the classroom would be a safe environment for every child under their supervision,” said Attorney Jeffrey L. Forte, whose firm represents families and children with special needs. “By its negligence in this case, the administration of Norwalk Public Schools and the adults in charge have inflicted emotional distress on this family, and have caused irreparable harm to a young child.”
Forte said he has not yet seen the video, but his understanding is that it shows the child experiencing a “behavioral deregulation” in an isolated room, which the teacher recorded and posted. He said he was contacted by the child’s parents and has been working with them for several weeks.
The “preservation of evidence” order, addressed to Superintendent of Schools Steven J. Adamowski, is meant to ensure the district’s preservation of “physical evidence, including, but not limited to videos, social media posts, cell phones, and any and all meta-data” related to the video, the order states.
Forte said Wednesday afternoon that he had not yet gotten a response from the district.
Norwalk Public Schools Chief Communications Officer Brenda Wilcox Williams confirmed that the district received the documents Wednesday and said they will be forwarded to legal counsel for followup.
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