Student Claims Discrimination Aggravated His ADHD

BRIDGEWATER, N.J.
Published: March 25, 2009

A graduate of a New Jersey high school and his mother are suing Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District and three assistant principals for discrimination, according to NJ.com.

Sean Reardon and Janet Schijns are also accusing the district of negligent and intentional infliction of emotional harm, following several incidents at Bridgewater-Raritan High School the claim aggravated his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and caused severe anxiety.

According to Reardon, on April 30, 2007, he and another classmate had gone to retrieve a textbook from Reardon’s car, which was located in the school’s parking lot. Although there were other students in the area, only Reardon and his classmate were questioned by two assistant principals, according to the lawsuit. Reardon’s classmate was released; however, Reardon, then 17 years old, was ordered to strip down to his underwear while administrators searched him. His parents were not informed about the incident.

Additionally, the plaintiffs said Reardon was often detained in darkened rooms with nothing to do, which aggravated his ADHD. He also suffered bullying from the other students, which the district failed to stop. The lawsuit claims that Schijns went to the school district to stop the harassment, but administrators continued to single him out.

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According to the lawsuit, Reardon was diagnosed with ADHD in 2002. In addition to that, Reardon had been under a therapist’s care for nearly seven years because he was a victim of child abuse. Despite numerous written and oral requests by Schijns, district officials failed to make accommodations for Reardon’s disability or his emotional fragility.

A spokesman for the New Jersey School Boards Association said state law prohibits school officials from performing strip searches on students under any circumstances.

District Business Administrator Peter Starrs said the district has not yet been served with the complaint.

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