Mother suing middle school onto next step in legal action
SALISBURY – The mother of a former Erwin Middle School student has moved on to the next step in a lawsuit against school personnel, several former students and the Board of Education.
The civil suit says her son was molested on an overnight school trip in 2010. The action was filed in April.
The Post does not identify victims of sexual assault and therefore is not naming the student or his mother.
Court files show the woman, represented by Richard Reamer and Emily Hunter, of Salisbury, are attending a required mediated settlement conference with the defendants.
Teachers Joe Van Miller and Franklin B. File are named in the lawsuit, along with four former eighth-grade students, Assistant Principal Carl L. Snider and the Board of Education. The defendants are represented by Daniel W. Clark, of Raleigh, David Bingham, of Salisbury, and Doug Todd Paris Sr., of Salisbury.
The settlement arbitration is a standard step in Superior Court legal proceedings.
Both parties have agreed to have former District and Superior Court Judge Clarence E. Horton, of Concord, mediate the conference.
The mother is seeking compensatory and punitive damages in excess of $40,000.
Erwin Middle School sponsored the “Sound To Sea” field trip to Trinity Center at Salter Path on Bogue Banks in Carteret County.
The victim had a mild disability, the lawsuit said, and was the subject of bullying by students, which the school was aware of.
The lawsuit said the victim’s father provided medicine for the boy to use if needed on the trip. The medicine included Benadryl, an EpiPen and an asthma inhaler.
The Benadryl was only to be used if the boy was stung by a bee, the suit said.
On Oct. 21, 2010, one day after arriving at Trinity Center, the victim told Joe Van Miller he had a headache, the suit said. File gave the child Benadryl.
While the child was in a “heavy sleep” from the medicine, the lawsuit said, the boys spit on him, passed gas in his face and simulated sexual activity.
No chaperone was with them in the boys’ cabin.
The boy later said he awoke briefly during the incident.
Assistant Principal Snider called the victim’s father the next morning and explained a prank had been played on the child and simulated sex acts carried out, the complaint said.
No further details were provided, the lawsuit said, and the incident was not reported to Cartaret County law enforcement.
When students arrived back in Rowan County later that day, Miller told the boy’s mother other students spit on her son’s face and passed gas in his face.
The woman took her son to Rowan Regional Medical Center that evening, the lawsuit said, and doctors found evidence of sexual assault.
Hospital officials then contacted Rowan County law enforcement.
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