South Carolina

Horry County Schools facing false imprisonment and defamation lawsuit

Horry County Schools could be facing a lawsuit after a teacher in a charter school allegedly punished a student by making her sit on the floor in the back of her classroom. Spokeswoman Teal Britton said the district hasn’t been served with papers and knows nothing about the suit.

In a complaint filed April 13, plaintiffs Michael and Lisa Skinner accused Horry County Schools and a second grade teacher of false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation and civil rights violations.

The Skinners allege in the complaint that their 7-year-old daughter was a student at the charter school “Palmetto Academy School” [sic] when Webb “disciplined (her) for some unknown reason,” sometime between the beginning of the 2016-17 school year and March 28, 2017.

The address of the school called “Palmetto Academy School” is the location of the Palmetto Academy of Learning and Success charter school. According to the complaint, the girl was “singled out” to sit on the floor to complete her classwork while other students sat at their desk.

The discipline allegedly went on for 30 days against their daughter’s will and “essentially ostracized” the girl, who allegedly showed signs of depression, suffered humiliation, lowered self-image, a decline in her grades, mental and emotional damages and other maladies, according to the complaint.

The complaint alleged that the discipline was “so extreme as to exceed all bounds of decency in a civilized society” and alleged that the action also was a civil rights violation because it “greatly impaired or deprived plaintiff, … of her right to an education.”

Britton said the school district is the fiscal agent for the charter school, but that the district has “absolutely no responsibility for the hiring or training or supervising of their teachers or staff.”

If the district is served with the complaint, it will be reviewed by legal counsel and the district’s insurance carrier, Britton said.

“Since this is potentially pending litigation, the district is unable to make further comment regarding alleged activities at the charter school,” Britton in the statement. “The district does not hire, nor supervise, the administration or employees at the charter school.”

Principal Courtney Fancher of the Palmetto Academy of Learning and Success said she couldn’t comment on pending litigation.

Christian Boschult, 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian