Lawsuit says boy got a concussion from attack at JLS

JLS Middle School in Palo Alto. Palo Alto Unified School District photo.

Daily Post Staff Writer

The mother of a JLS Middle School student has sued the Palo Alto school district claiming that violence at school left her son with a concussion and post-concussion syndrome.

According to the Aug. 22 suit, the boy was attacked by one or more classmates several times starting around Sept. 3, 2017.

The attacks led to severe and pervasive physical, mental and emotional injuries, according to the lawsuit, which was filed by attorney Seth Rosenberg of the San Francisco firm Emergent.

Post-concussion syndrome can involve symptoms such as headaches, dizziness and fatigue that last for weeks or months after an injury.

The risk of post-concussion syndrome doesn’t appear to be associated with the severity of the injury, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Lack of supervision alleged

The boy’s mother claims that school officials failed to properly supervise and educate students to prevent the attacks.

They also didn’t properly investigate the incidents when they happened and didn’t appropriately punish, educate or separate the students afterward, she claims.

The district has not responded to the lawsuit in court. Lawyers are scheduled to meet for a case management conference on Dec. 4. The suit seeks a minimum of $50,000.

Superintendent Don Austin declined to comment. The boy’s mother also declined to comment on the lawsuit.

The case comes five months after another student injury lawsuit out of JLS at 480 E. Meadow Drive.

Potato gun incident

On Feb. 7, another JLS boy’s parents sued the district over an eye injury their son suffered while using a homemade potato gun during a math experiment.
The potato gun was air-pressurized with a bicycle pump and got stuck during the May 12, 2017 experiment at JLS.

According to the lawsuit, the boy looked to see why the potato was stuck when the gun went off, firing a potato in his eye.

The potato damaged the boy’s retina, leaving him with a fixed, dilated pupil that lets in too much light and causes difficulty for him focusing his eyes and going between lighting conditions.

The boy’s macular thickness is half of what it was before, according to the boy’s attorney, Paul Van Der Walde of the Campbell personal injury firm Caputo and Van Der Walde. He also lost photo receptor cells in the retina, and he was left higher risk for retinal detachment.

The condition won’t improve and can’t be fixed with glasses or contacts, Van Der Walde said. The boy also had high interocular pressure after the injury, which went down afterward but left him with a higher risk of traumatic glaucoma.

Van Der Walde said the injury also fractured the orbit around the boy’s eye, requiring surgery.

Attorneys in the potato gun case met in court yesterday morning for a case management conference.

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