What’s more embarrassing for a third grader? A school nurse calling you “smelly” or your parents filing a federal lawsuit over the matter?
Well, one eight-year-old from Weatherford will now be finding out the answer to that question. Amber and Michael Tilley sued Peaster Independent School District after a school counselor and nurse allegedly told the boy he was “smelly” and “dirty” and forced him to take a shower in the nurse’s office.
This story, of course, is the kind that TV news salivates over, and NBC 5’s Scott Gordon trekked out to Weatherford from the Metroplex to interview the boy’s parents. “The parents told us they don’t believe their son was ever dirty, but even if he was the district had no right to [bathe him],” Gordon said.
The parents claim in the lawsuit that the school counselor told their son he “smelled badly, was dirty and that he had bad hygiene,” Courthouse News Service’s David Lee reported, citing the lawsuit.
The Tilleys kept their son out of school for a week after the incident. “His body and his ears, they were really sore, real tender from being scrubbed,” Amber Tilley told Gordon.
(The New York Daily News also picked up on the story, helpfully illustrating their piece with a photo of Pig-Pen, the notoriously smelly Peanuts character .)
The family is seeking actual and punitive damages for various tort claims, including invasion of privacy, assault, retaliation, battery, false imprisonment, and illegal search and seizure.
“The thing that’s unusual is that any school employee would take it upon themselves to do this to a child,” Jason Bach, the Tilley’s attorney, told Gordon. “As bizarre as that is, the injuries that this child has sustained are significant.”