A former California high school student forced to urinate in a bucket in class after her request for a bathroom break was denied won a $1.25 million lawsuit.
A Superior Court jury sided with the former Patrick Henry High School student who sued the district in 2012 and ordered the San Diego Unified School District to pay more than $1.25 million in damages plus $41,000 to cover past and present medical expenses, the San Diego Union Tribune reported.
The student filed the lawsuit after the teacher denied her request to go to the bathroom during a 25-minute advisory class and directed her to a supply closet where she urinated privately in a bucket.
The girl said the incident prompted gossip, lewd text messages, depression, and a suicide attempt, KSWB reported.
The school district’s attorney argued that the teacher mistakenly thought she found a solution to the school’s strict, no bathroom break policy and that she never intended to embarrass the girl.
The shorter, 25-minute advisory classes were meant to provide study time for the students. School officials told teachers that frequent bathroom breaks would undermine the period’s original purpose and to use common sense, the district’s attorney said.
“Something like this never should have happened to a 14-year-old girl just entering high school,” attorney Brian Watkins said. “She took the stand and told a really embarrassing story, she told the jury how this has affected her life and how she is still working through issues.”
The school originally denied the student’s claim seeking $25,000. The school district called the verdict disappointing.
The student, now 19-years-old, had to transfer schools twice because of the bullying before she graduated from a charter school.
She has a job and still attends therapy due to the post-traumatic stress of the incident, Watkins said.