Family whose special needs child was killed walking home in 2015 is suing Elizabethtown School District
ELIZABETHTOWN, LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa.– The Elizabethtown School District is being sued by a family whose 13-year-old son died after he was struck by a car while walking home from school in 2015.
On March 9, 2015, David Weiser, 13, was on his way home from Elizabethtown Middle School. However, he was struck and killed by a vehicle while attempting to cross E. High Street.
Weiser had autism, sensory integration dysfunction, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to the lawsuit. However, Weiser was designated as a “walker” by the school and was to travel to and from the school without assistance, despite Weiser’s parents alleging that school district employees were aware of the special needs of their son.
The school district’s own policy states that “the District will transport students with disabilities identified to need transportation without regard to distance or hazardous walking conditions as required by State and Federal law,” according to the suit. The suit has been filed under the Americans With Disabilities Act, Rehabilitation Act, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
The family has filed a federal lawsuit against the school district, employees and others, but the school district says it has been “inappropriately included” as a defendant.
“David’s death was a tragic accident that happened on an Elizabethtown Borough street. The death of any child is tragic and our deepest sympathies go out to his family and all who knew him. The School District did not cause this tragedy, and believes it is inappropriately included as a defendant in the lawsuit,” the district said in a statement Saturday.
Superintendent Michele Balliet, supervisor of special education Monica Steward, Middle School principal Nathan Frank, business manager of transportation George Longridge, and special education teacher Michelle Heckman are all named in the suit among other district employees. Additionally, Mary Roush, who allegedly operated the vehicle that struck and killed Weiser, is also named in the suit.
The Weiser family is seeking “compensatory damages and statutory damages against all defendants, jointly and severally, and punitive damages against the individual defendants for each claim, in such amounts as the jury determines.”
Weiser was in his first year in the school district after his family moved from Montgomery County. The Weiser’s lived a half mile away from the middle school, according to court documents.
Most days, Weiser’s high school age sister would walk with him to school, but was unable to accompany him on the day of the accident, according to the suit.
Now, the case will take the spotlight in the United States District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania.