COLUMBUS, Ga. – A 13-year-old boy had to have his right leg amputated after a contractor at a Columbus, Georgia, school “body slammed” him repeatedly, an attorney for the boy’s family said.
Montravious Thomas was injured in September after an employee at Edgewood Student Services Center “body slammed” him three times when Thomas tried to leave the classroom to call his mother, family attorney Renee Tucker told CNN Thursday.
Tucker says after the incident took place, officials at the school failed to provide Thomas with adequate medical care. At one point, school officials told the teenager an ambulance was on its way, but then told him he would have to ride the bus home and made him attempt to walk to the bus, the lawyer said.
When it was clear Thomas could not walk to the bus, Tucker said, the same contractor who disciplined him “threw him over the shoulder and carried him to the bus.”
Thomas’ mother took him to the emergency room that night and he was later airlifted to an Atlanta hospital, Tucker said.
School district cites safety issues
The Muscogee County School District says the contractor involved in the incident, Bryant Mosley, was a contract worker and is no longer providing services to the school district.
“Mr. Mosley is specifically trained in MindSet curriculum, a system of preventing and managing aggressive behavior, and Georgia restraint requirements. It is our understanding that there were issues concerning the safety of the child and others in the room, which called for the use of restraint per state guidance,” the district said in a statement.
Edgewood Student Services Center is a school for students who have been temporarily removed from their current school because of behavioral problems or for breaking behavioral rules.
An attorney for the company employing Mosley — Mentoring and Behavioral Sciences — released a statement to CNN saying, “We are certainly very concerned for Montravious and our hearts go out to him. He and his family are in our thoughts as prayers.”
The attorney, Robert Poydasheff Jr., said in the statement that he had advised the company “not to comment or speculate on the matter until we have completed our investigation.”
“There is very little information to work from,” Poydasheff added.
An attorney representing Mosley individually said he would not comment on the case.
Student was face-down on floor, attorney says
Tucker said at one point, Thomas was face-down on the floor, with Mosley’s weight on top of him.
She said if Thomas had received adequate medical care shortly after the incident, his leg could possibly have been saved. He’s expected to remain at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston for at least 30 more days and he’ll need extensive occupational and physical therapy in the coming months, Tucker said.
Doctors performed several surgeries to try to restore the blood flow to Thomas’ right leg before having to perform the amputation, the attorney said.
School district to conduct review
The school district says it is conducting a “thorough review of the incident to determine all of the facts and to make any necessary recommendations because the safety of all students and all employees is priority.”
Muscogee County School District statement says “physical restraint is allowed in Georgia public schools and educational programs in those situations in which the student is an immediate danger to himself or others and the student is not responsive to less intensive behavioral interventions including verbal directives or other de-escalation techniques.”
The teen’s attorney claims the method Mosley used is not part of the Georgia restraint guidance.
The incident happened on Thomas’ first day at Edgewood, Tucker said. He had been required to attend the alternative school for four days after having an issue with another student at his home school, she explained, adding that his family says he was not known for being violent or having outbursts at school nor had he ever been restrained by a teacher in the past.
Tucker has filed a request under Georgia’s open records law to obtain any video that may exist of the restraint and Thomas’ attempt to walk to the school bus, as well as his school records, but has not yet received any response.
The attorney said that while no charges or lawsuits have been filed yet, the family plans to move ahead with a civil suit in the near future.