Jury orders S-E to pay $75,000 in damages to elementary student

SHERBURNE – The Sherburne-Earlville school district was ordered to pay $75,000 in damages to a student last week following a civil trial. Jurors found the district was negligent in denying a second grader access to restrooms during a bus trip from Syracuse in 2007.

At least five of the six jurors agreed Sherburne-Earlville teachers acted negligently when they denied repeated requests from a 9-year-old student to pull over a school bus so she could use the bathroom.



S-E Superintendent Gayle Hellert said the school intends to appeal the decision and offered no further comment.

The district’s defense attorney Mark O. Chieco of Petrone and Petrone in Utica, also said the school will file an appeal, explaining he couldn’t comment because of the pending litigation.

During the hour and 15-minute bus ride from a zoo in Syracuse, the victim’s aunt, who testified at the trial and was a chaperone for the trip, said she also urged teachers to stop the bus, but to no avail. The aunt testified her niece asked to use the bathroom about 15 minutes after the bus left Syracuse.


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