Woman With Cerebral Palsy Has Mouth Taped Shut by Teacher, Family Files Lawsuit

Rosa Smith (WXYZ/CNN)
Rosa Smith (WXYZ/CNN)

The family of a woman with cerebral palsy has filed a lawsuit against her former school, former teacher and other school staff members for alleged abuse and neglect that happened over the many years the woman attended the school.


Rosa Smith, now 26, has cerebral palsy as well as cognitive impairment, an inability to communicate verbally and physical impairments, including the inability to move her hands and arms. In a 25-page lawsuit filed against Washtenaw Intermediate School District, a teacher, principal and two teacher’s aides, her family says that Smith suffered “repetitive instances of abuse,” according to WBRC-TV.

The suit also alleges that Nesa Johnson, Smith’s former teacher, forcefully taped Smith’s mouth shut in March 2016 because she was “making noises.”

Jonathan Marko, an attorney representing the family, said, “These weren’t accidents, and there was abuse going on.”

“They blamed Rosa for scalding hot coffee being poured on her. They blamed Rosa for coming home with bruises on her. They even blamed Rosa for being too loud, and that’s why they had to gag and bound her,” Marko said.

According to the lawsuit, the abuse goes as far back as 2004.

“We can make sure that no one else is being abused, and we can stop the abuse from taking place. Had they fulfilled their legal duty 10 years ago, it could have prevented a lot of the torture that Rosa underwent,” Marko said.


The school conducted its own investigation and says it has taken action.

“As to the subject of this lawsuit, the family did not report this, or any other complaint to the district until nearly a year after it occurred,” the district said in a statement. “We take the health, safety, and education of all of our students very seriously.”


The family’s lawsuit asks for damages and attorney fees paid for whatever amount a jury deems fair and reasonable.

Read more at WBRC-TV.

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.


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