Mother sues Poudre School District claiming daughter was illegally restrained

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. (KDVR) — What began as a simple request to use the restroom, has now resulted in a lawsuit against the Poudre School District.

Last March, 14-year-old Jalilah Al-Haddad, a mostly non-verbal eighth grader with severe autism, notified a teacher she needed to use the restroom. But according to the lawsuit, she was told she needed to wait.

Al-Haddad ended up soiling her pants.

“You can’t deny someone from using the bathroom. I was enraged. I was in shock. I didn’t know what to do. You’re caught in a place where you trust these people with your child and something like this happens,” explained her mother Dawn Malvase.

However, things only grew worse from there.

Dawn says her frustrated daughter began throwing feces and was dragged to a room where she was physically restrained.

“State law says they are not allowed to restrain that child unless the child is posing a substantial risk to herself or others,” said the family’s lawyer, Igor Raykin with the Colorado Law Team.

Not only was Al-Haddad restrained, her mother said she was also injured.

Malvase took her daughter to be examined by the family’s physician, who notified authorities and child protective services.

“It clearly looked like a rug burn. It actually looked like a wound the size of a hockey puck that was blistering,” explained Malvase.

However, the Poudre School District said Fort Collins Police investigated and found no wrongdoing.

The district released this statement: “Poudre School District takes the safety and wellbeing of all our students and staff seriously. The district does not comment on confidential student matters. PSD determined that staff followed appropriate district policies and procedures. Generally, we can confirm that Fort Collins Police Services investigated this situation in 2020 and found no wrongdoing on behalf of the school district. “

Malvase isn’t satisfied, now suing on behalf of her daughter who she said no longer wants to go to school.

“It’s like traumatizing a 2-year-old. You can’t speak about what happened and how it affected them,” she said.

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