TN School Bus Death Leads to Suit

TN School Bus Death Leads to Suit

A federal lawsuit has been filed in Chattanooga, Tennessee following a 15-year-old’s death last October.  The teenager, Rocky Joe Dockery, died after climbing out of a school bus window on October 1, 2004, following a refusal of the bus driver to stop.  The teenager had asked the driver to stop at his grandfather’s house instead of his usual stop.  The driver refused, even though he had dropped the boy off at his grandfather’s house in the past.

The teen had a history of mental illness and was often mentally and physically abused by others at school and on the school bus.  The lawsuit contends that the driver and other Bradley County school officials failed to provide legally entitled care to the boy due to his mental condition.

Dockery’s guardians, Donnie and Kathy Hill, have filed the suit.  The suit claims that the Bradley Country school administrators, teachers, and counselors all were well aware of the boy’s mental condition but did not take any additional precautionary action to care for the boy while at school.  The suit alleges that the only thing officials did was insist that Dockery decrease his medicine because he was having trouble focusing in class.

The disability that Dockery had allowed him to receive additional federal and state assistance that he was consistently denied.

Witnesses to the incident say that the bus was going about 45 mph when Dockery climbed out of the window.  Witnesses also report no signs of bullying or other abuse on the bus that day.



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