Richmond County teacher, system sued over abuse allegations

 

Parents of a Richmond County pupil are suing the school district and a teacher who, internal investigations found, had a history of misconduct.

Kayrie Washington-Cargill was placed on administrative leave in April after allegations that she grabbed a Tobacco Road Elementary fourth-grader by the neck when she couldn’t answer a math problem.

Now the parents of that child, Simon and Dorthea Goudeau, have filed suit in U.S. District Court, asking for punitive and general damages in excess of $75,000 for the “anxiety” and “humiliation” suffered by the child, who was 9 years old at the time.

The suit names Cargill as a defendant, along with the school system and Acting Superintendent James Whitson, who renewed Cargill’s contract in 2010.

The suit alleges that, beginning in 2009, Cargill “engaged in extensive, continuing abusive and unsafe conduct towards children who were RCSS students.”

Her actions resulted in letters of reprimand and “direction” from the school board, one of which stated “your professional decisions in the last few months ... have caused enormous concern to your principal and my staff,” according to the lawsuit.

The allegations, first listed by the school board and restated in the lawsuit, include: forcing a pupil to stand in the corner as punishment, then forgetting him after school was dismissed; causing a pupil to wet his pants when he wasn’t allowed to go to the bathroom; and confining children in the bathroom, sometimes with the lights off.

In the case of the fourth-grader, identified in court papers as “S.G.,” Cargill made statements that she wanted to adopt S.G. and take her home. On several occasions, S.G. was allowed to stay home and go home early “due to her fear and anxiety about having to see Cargill each day,” the suit states.

The suit alleges that Cargill threatened S.G. not to talk, saying “what goes on in (Cargill’s) class stayed in (her) class.”

In one incident, Cargill grabbed S.G. by the neck, “violently forcing her head down and into a desk” and yelling “Read it! Read it!” according to the suit.

The suit asks for damages on counts including intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of mental anguish and emotional distress.

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