Los Angeles

Family Plans to Sue After Boy Said He Wasn't Allowed to Go to the Bathroom at School

The school district was investigating after the boy was allegedly fitted with garbage bags on top of urine-soaked clothes.

The family who accused staff at a Los Angeles school of forcing an 8-year-old boy to urinate in a trashcan in front of his classmates and then wear a garbage bag to cover his wet clothes announced Monday a lawsuit was forthcoming. 

"When something or someone harms any of our children, especially in a school setting, it affects all of us,'' attorney Toni Jaramilla told reporters at a Monday morning news conference. "It affects our community." 

She said the boy was "subjected to reckless, cruel and abusive conduct" after the third grader's mother claims staff at Manhattan Elementary School at 18520 W. 96th Street repeatedly refused to allow her son to use the restroom.

The family, along with Jaramilla, announced a damages claim against the school. 

She was calling for the resignation of at least four staff members involved in the incident as well.

The legal move is a precursor to a lawsuit, the attorney said at the Monday news conference. 

"There are children who are committing suicide because they are bullied for less than what has happened to our son," Sonia Mongol, the boy's mother, said at a news conference outside the Gramercy Park school the week before.

NBC4 reached out to the school, and did not receive comment. However, the Los Angeles Unified School District said an investigation was underway. The school district released the following statement, but did not offer specific comment on the incident: "Los Angeles Unified takes all matters concerning the safety and well-being of our students very seriously. Upon learning about this allegation, law enforcement was notified immediately, and the District is fully cooperating in the investigation. The District will also conduct an administrative investigation. Due to confidentiality laws, we cannot offer further details at this time."

Mongol said her 8-year-old son asked to use the restroom, and was told no.

She said her son was getting to the point where he felt he may urinate in his pants, and allegedly the teacher told him to go in a trashcan in front of the classroom.

"He's a little kid. Why would you make a child expose himself in front of the classroom and then put a garbage bag on him when he came to you for help?" she said.

After splashing urine on himself, the boy went to the teacher, and a nurse. The family claims no one called his parents, and he was fitted with a garbage bag instead at an after-school program. 

Frustrated with the situation, Mongol shared photos on Facebook of her son in the garbage bag.

Community activist Najee Ali, of Project Islamic Hope, shared the images, garnering more attention and public outcry.

Mongol said the situation worsened at school in the days after the garbage bag incident, saying her son has been bullied by fellow students since.

Mongol said her family is not the only one to complain of strict restroom policies at the school. She even claimed that security monitors are posted outside restrooms at the school, and they refuse to let children in.

"There are four adults on his emergency card. Not one was notified," she said, at times fighting tears during the Thursday news conference.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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