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Mother sues Pinellas School Board over autistic son's beating

Published Jun. 14, 2013

A mother is suing the Pinellas County School Board, alleging her son was beaten so severely by other students that he had to have a testicle removed.

The boy, 14 when the incident occurred at Largo Middle School in spring 2012, is on the autism spectrum. The school system was legally required to provide him with an Individualized Education Program, or IEP.

But the family's attorney, Jeremy Wyatt Weinsier, says the IEP addressed only the boy's academic progress and provided no supports for his chief disability: his problem getting along with other children.

"The School Board completely ignored the evidence in their face that this was more of a problem than a slight learning disability," said Weinsier, who filed the lawsuit last week.

School district spokeswoman Melanie Marquez Parra said Thursday the district has not been served with the complaint, and could not comment.

According to the lawsuit, the boy — identified only by his initials — was in his fourth period physical education class when several students began teasing him. He'd had problems with these students before, and the mother had notified the school.

The teasing escalated and became physical while the substitute teacher shot basketballs with students in another part of the gym, the lawsuit states.

The boy was kicked so hard that doctors had to remove one of his testicles, according to Weinsier.

The lawsuit alleges the Pinellas School Board failed to intervene to help the boy, despite being aware of the bullying. The boy's family is seeking compensation for medical bills, plus damages.


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