Jury awards student $800,000 after fall at school - KPTV - FOX 12

Jury awards student $800,000 after fall at school

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Reynolds School District is paying a local student $800,000, because he fell in the classroom and can no longer walk.

Foster Smith suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Over time his muscles weaken.

Foster was supposed to have someone assigned to him as he moves around the classroom. His family says, that's where the school failed.

“I asked to leave. I walked towards my desk and then I tripped over one of the legs,” Foster said.

Because of his disability, his family had an agreement with Margaret Scott Elementary, called an Individual Education Program (IEP).

“There was definitely a fall risk, because he has some balance issues. That is why he required a one-on-one aid to assist him during transitions,” Foster’s mom Judy Smith said.

That agreement meant someone was supposed to be close to Foster during the school day, to help him out when he walked from station to station in the classroom.

“It was very specific about how to keep the boy safe. It was broken right out of the gate,” Foster’s attorney Greg Kafoury said.

When Foster tripped, he laid on the ground in searing pain. His femur was fractured and teachers had to call for an ambulance.

Foster lost his ability to walk and is still in a wheelchair.

Later, Foster's mom said the school did something suspicious.

“I would have to come down to the office and sign forms that would take any of the liability off of Margaret Scott (Elementary) and that's when I knew something wasn't right with this picture,” Judy Smith said.

The family says, the school tried to cover up the incident and blame it on Foster.

“It was a lie. It was a cover up and they tried to frame a 10 year old after they had hurt him,” Kafoury said.

The school argued that it was foster who got up and walked on his own.

It became obvious that Foster was walking around his classroom, unassisted, a significant amount of time during the day and wasn't getting the support that he was supposed to have,” Judy Smith said.

Today the jury sided with Foster Friday morning, awarding him $800,000.

“I trusted them and then after that incident, cause of what happened, I didn't trust them anymore,” Foster said.

Reynolds School District sent FOX 12 a statement that says in part:

"Reynolds School District regrets that our student fell at school and suffered an injury. We will continue to serve and care for him and all of our students and their families."

Foster is heading to middle school and he will be staying in the Reynolds School District.

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