5 INVESTIGATES: Lawsuit filed by mother of student allegedly abused at North Elementary

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 6:02 PM EDT
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va (WDTV) - A lawsuit has been filed in connection to the child abuse allegations at North Elementary in Morgantown.

The 23-page lawsuit was filed by the mother of a 6-year-old student.

It’s against the Monongalia County Board of Education, a now former teacher, and a teacher’s aide.

It details allegations of abuse against the child last November.

The lawsuit alleges the special needs student was restrained by two aides with a belt.

The special needs classroom has a camera - as required by state law - but according to the lawsuit it didn’t catch everything. However, it says there is audio of what happened.

It says a teacher’s aide, Chrissy Areford, used an expletive when pointing to the student and threatened to quote “mess him up.”

The lawsuit also alleges Areford and another defendant Diana Ellis scolded the child for several minutes. It says the student could be heard saying ‘ow’ and ‘no’ and screaming and crying.

The filing says Ellis and Areford can be heard telling the student to calm down as they continue to restrain him -- all the while he can be heard sobbing and crying out “Please”, “No”, and “Stop”.

According to the report the alleged abuse went on for at least 15 minutes with Ellis and Areford allegedly taunting, mocking, hitting, and stepping on the child after other students were removed from the room.

The plaintiff’s mother says in the filing her child kept repeating the word “Hurt” when returning home from school that day, but due to his special needs could not properly verbalize the alleged abuse.

The alleged abuse wasn’t uncovered until another investigation into North Elementary involving the principal and now former vice principal in February.

The lawsuit lists 5 different counts including negligence, violations of the state human rights act, battery, assault, and infliction of emotional distress.