Finger of special needs student severed in door at school

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INDIANAPOLIS – A special needs student’s finger was severed after it was slammed in a heavy metal door according to a recently filed lawsuit.

According to the lawsuit, an employee with Sanders School in the Wayne Township School District slammed the door on the student’s hand as she tried to run out of an isolation room.

“The parents can’t even talk about it without crying,” said family attorney Robert Turner.

Sanders School serves special needs students. The lawsuit says it all started when the student became “frustrated” with a lesson during math class and “attempted to leave the building.”

At that point the student was “escorted to and contained in the ISR (Isolation Room).” Then, according to the lawsuit, the student “began to violently scratch her arm with a sharp screw she found in the room” while in isolation.

After the screw was taken away, the lawsuit said the student then started “to scratch herself with an earring” and later with a “cross pendant.” When school employees entered the room for the fifth time, the student was restrained.

“At some point according to their procedure they were holding her down,” Turner said. “They were releasing her one at a time, with multiple adults holding her down and the last person to release her rushed toward the door.”

The lawyer said the student also rushed toward the door and her hand got caught as it was slammed closed.

“And I think a nurse actually had to scrape part of the finger off the door,” Turner said.

The top digit of the finger had to be amputated.

Fox 59 tried to talk to the school, but officials said they couldn’t comment on pending litigation.

The girl’s parents want Wayne Township to take a closer look at its procedures to help protect special needs students and teachers.

“In this particular case, I think it was a very bad idea to use this type door as a safe door,” said Turner. “It wasn’t a prison; it shouldn’t have been a prison. And I think it’s a bad idea to slam a door.”

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