CLAYSVILLE, Pa. (KDKA) — A mother is suing the McGuffey School District after she says three teachers could be heard making fun of her daughter, who is a special needs student, in a voicemail that was left on her phone in 2015.
The teachers apparently didn’t realize the phone was still recording.
Her daughter was in the fifth grade at the time, but is now in eighth grade.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court on Sunday alleging intentional discrimination on the basis of disability.
“I was shocked when I first heard it. I had to listen twice,” Beth Suhon said.
Suhon said the teachers taught her daughter when she was a student at Claysville Elementary.
“They need to be taught how to respect their students,” said Suhon.
Suhon’s daughter has Turner’s syndrome, a chromosomal disorder that affects a small percentage of girls. She also suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder, depression and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD.
Suhon said she spoke to one teacher, Mrs. Papson, over the phone after she heard the voicemail.
“Her response was, ‘Did you ever have one of those days?’” said Suhon.
In 2012, a plan was created to help Suhon’s daughter with her disability. But in 2014, when her daughter was in fourth grade, the district terminated the plan without letting the parents know.
Suhon noticed her daughter was regressing, but didn’t know why. She didn’t find out what happened until 2015 when the voicemail incident happened. Suhon said she pulled her daughter out of school for a short amount of time.
“The teachers never said to Beth, ‘Oh, that’s because we removed it. Here’s why…” said Suhon’s attorney, Noah Geary.
“I would like the school district to acknowledge they have teachers that obviously need counseling,” said Suhon. “I think these teachers put themselves on a pedestal.”
Suhon’s attorney said now that the suit has been filed, they have to wait for the school district to respond.
KDKA’s Amy Wadas reached out to the district for comment, but has not heard back.
Suhon said her house is up for sale and is planning on moving out of the district as soon as she can.