Irvington Teacher Lawsuit Versus District Over Student Attack Dismissed

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By Rick Pezzullo – 

A State Supreme Court justice has dismissed a lawsuit filed last year by a special education teacher at Irvington Middle School who allegedly suffered “grievous and permanent injuries” after being attacked in a classroom by a student with a history of behavioral problems.

Judge Lewis Lubell ruled on January 30 that the allegations made by Clarice Martin and her fellow plaintiff, husband Douglas Richard, against the district in an August 21 complaint failed “to establish the elements of an intentional tort on the part of the defendants.”

In the complaint, Martin claimed Irvington Middle School Principal David Sottile and Director of Pupil Personnel Services Scott Palermo were aware of the unnamed out-of-district tuition student’s “documented violent behavior” but failed to take proper steps to protect teachers and aides in the special education classroom or remove the student from the district.

Martin stated in the lawsuit that on March 16, 2017 the student struck her with a closed fist on the top of her head, “driving her head down into her spine.” As a result of the incident, Martin claimed she had suffered post-concussion syndrome, vertigo, speech impairment and other injuries, along with a loss of income and potential retirement benefits.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kristopher Harrison Lubell essentially agreed with the district that the matter was a Workman’s Compensation case.

“We continue to believe that the Irvington UFSD provides a safe and secure environment for our staff and students as our first priority, and that we are always responsive to staff concerns about individual safety-related situations that may require support or intervention,” Harrison stated.


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