Family settles Denison ISD lawsuit for $500,000

Published: Jun. 28, 2017 at 6:49 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

DENISON, Texas (KXII) -- "We knew going into this lawsuit it was going to be very difficult to defend because we had an employee that used an inappropriate restraint technique on a special needs student and we feel bad about that and we apologized to the family," says Denison ISD Superintendent Dr. Henry Scott.

Dr. Scott says last month the district settled a lawsuit filed by the Sexton family claiming their special needs child was improperly restrained by a teacher's aide.

"Our number one priority is to keep kids safe and in this case it didn't happen," says Dr. Scott. "Because that child was not kept safe in that sort of situation."

It happened back in December 2015. The lawsuit alleged a former Denison High School employee, Mark Mask, put a senior in a choke hold, threw him on the floor and dropped a knee onto his back, while two other employees watched but did nothing.

"The settlement, the total settlement to the Sexton family was 500,000," says Dr. Scott. "The district paid 50,000 including attorney fees to settle the lawsuit."

In the lawsuit, the family says the school district hired Mask, despite what they call an extensive criminal history. They also say their child has suffered pain, anxiety and mental anguish among other damages.

Dr. Scott says the district's insurance company paid the family a half million dollars.

"We feel good about the settlement," says Dr. Scott. "I think the family does and I think it was a fair settlement."

As for that teacher's aid, he was fired the day after it happened.

Dr. Scott tells tells News 12 the school district is ready to put this lawsuit behind them and their number one priority is the safety of their students.