The Pasco School District will have 30 days to respond to a lawsuit filed by the parents of a special need student, as the district is accused of allowing a teacher to abuse their child, and the district not stopping it.

Ivan Romero and Jessica Juarez, the parents of the child, had the suit filed by their attorney Scott Johnson.

The child, identified as S.R. in court papers, suffered psychological and physical abuse according to the suit. The child was placed in a class led by Ratree Albers in 2013, after being transferred to Robert Frost. He was 7 at the time of the alleged abuse He is 9 now. The boy has been diagnosed with autism and ADHD.

Shortly after being placed in Albers' class, the parents noticed a change in his behavior, he became more disruptive, combative and often told his parents he didn't want to go to school. He would say "no school" and mentioned the teacher's name.

The parents were alerted to the issue by a teacher's aide who worked with Albers. The aide contacted the boy's parents and told them what she saw happening.

Court papers say the boy was placed in a dark bathroom as punishment, even though he's afraid of the dark, and the teacher reportedly used physical punishment. A teacher's aide said she witnessed Albers pushing the boy's chair against his table when he wanted to get up, causing bruising on legs from the pressure. She also allegedly ignored the boy when he would as the same question several times. The aide said S.R. would apologize to the teacher, but she still ignored him.

School records indicate Albers was already placed on probation for ten days for allegations of verbal and physical abuse and intimidation with other students during the 2013-14 school year.

However, the suit states the District did not notify the Department of Social and Health Services over these allegations as required. When the allegations over the treatment of S.R. were then brought to the District, they said they did not know the teacher was being abusive towards her students.

Albers left the district for other work some time ago, and school officials say the abuse allegations were never substantiated.  Besides the District, Robert Frost Principal Nora Flores, District Administrator Tim Sullivan and former Superintendent Sandra Hill are named in the suit.

The damages sought in the lawsuit were unspecified. Attorney Johnson has asked other parents who's children worked with Albers to come forward if they had similar situations.


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