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Apr 10, 2019 10:14 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Native American Couple Sues Southampton School District For $50 Million, Claiming Neglect Toward Son

Apr 10, 2019 10:56 AM

A couple living on the Shinnecock Indian Reservation recently filed a $50 million lawsuit against the Southampton School District, claiming that, when their son injured himself at the elementary school playground last year, he did not receive the proper care.

Jonathan Smith, a Shinnecock Indian Nation member, and his wife, Kayla Looking Horse, a Standing Rock Sioux Tribe member, filed the suit in U.S. District Court on February 14, and alleged negligence, discrimination and breaches of contract against the school district. Manhattan-based attorney Scott Moore of the Moore International Law Office in Manhattan represents the plaintiffs.

Their son, who was 6 years old and in first grade at the time, suffered a head injury on January 31, 2018, after falling off playground equipment while unsupervised during recess, according to suit documents.

Documents state that “no adult at the school noticed, cared for, or reported [the child’s] fall and injury that day or any other day.”

The parents also claimed that the school district violated anti-discrimination laws by denying their son special education services after three requests were made, documents state. They felt that their son needed additional services because of cognitive impairments resulting from the injury that affect his ability to learn and socialize, according to the documents.

In the complaint, they also claimed six breaches of the Native American Tuition Agreement, a five-year contract between New York State and the school district that supplies $26 million in state aid to the district to fund the education of all Shinnecock students.

The breaches include failing to provide the child with the same instructional and educational materials as non-Shinnecock students; failing to provide a supplemental service program that would allow the child to reach similar performance rates as non-Shinnecock students; and failing to prepare the annual Native American Student Achievement reports, among other things.

After that school year, Mr. Smith and Ms. Looking Horse took their son out of Southampton schools and sent him to the Ross School, a private school in East Hampton, where he currently attends, documents state.

The parents are seeking $50 million among other forms of relief, such as having the court appoint a special master to examine and monitor the district’s compliance with its Native American Tuition Agreement, according to suit documents.

The monetary relief is meant to cover attorney, educational and medical expenses—the child saw seven different doctors after his injury and attends a costly private school—as well as non-quantifiable items like “physical pain and suffering” and “humiliation and embarrassment,” documents state.

Southampton Superintendent of Schools Dr. Nicholas Dyno could not be reached for comment. District Clerk Amy Pierson said that Dr. Dyno does not typically comment on pending litigation.

The Uniondale-based law firm CFO Legal is representing the school district in the case and also could not immediately be reached.

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Monet, money and more money....
By knitter (1858), Southampton on Apr 15, 19 8:41 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Preliator Lives (429), Obamavillie on Apr 15, 19 9:32 AM
I hope all articles in the future start with the ethnicity of the subject.

White man dies. Asian couple wins lotto. Black woman wins election.

Only way this headline makes any sense at all. I find it hilarious it hasn’t been widely called out already
By banned (189), Hampton Bays on Apr 15, 19 11:42 PM
Papers used to do that many many yrs ago. It’s pathetic, if that’s what you like.
By Fred s (3020), Southampton on Apr 16, 19 6:14 AM
Fred, meet sarcasm. Sarcasm, Fred.
By banned (189), Hampton Bays on Apr 16, 19 11:00 PM
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