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Teacher had students bind girl in sheet and push her down steps while videotaping it, parents allege in lawsuit
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Teacher had students bind girl in sheet and push her down steps while videotaping it, parents allege in lawsuit

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TWIN FALLS — The parents of a South Hills Middle School student have filed a notice of tort claim against the school district and one of its teachers.

The parents are seeking their daughter’s growing medical costs from the Twin Falls School District after teacher Froylan Vargas instructed students in his class to “wrap (their daughter) up tight in a sheet and push her down concrete stairs while he videoed it on his cell phone,” according to the notice, which is intended to alert the involved parties to future legal action.

“(The student) was wrapped so tight she could not arrest her descent down the stairs,” Twin Falls law firm Hilverda McRae PLLC wrote in the March 1 notice. Her injuries include concussion, traumatic brain injury, deep scalp laceration requiring four staples, knee and foot injuries, and damages to her right elbow and hand.

The family has incurred more than $30,000 in medical costs alone due to the Nov. 20 incident, attorney Brian Hilverda told the Times-News on Thursday. The student is still undergoing treatment.

South Hills Middle School failed to keep the student “in a safe teaching environment,” the notice says, calling Vargas’ actions “negligent and reckless.”

The school district legally has 90 days from the notice’s date to respond. So far, the district has not responded to the notice, Hilverda said.

The school district on Thursday confirmed receiving the notice of tort claim.

“Beyond that confirmation, the district cannot release any information during the ongoing investigation of this claim,” spokesperson Eva Craner wrote in an email.

The stunt was apparently part of an assignment to reenact a scene from Shakespeare, Hilverda said. Vargas told the students they would fail if they didn’t participate.

“This poor girl has been through a lot. She tried to return to school, but the brain injury has made that difficult,” Hilverda said. “Her mother eventually pulled her from school during the last few weeks.”

Vargas, a former student at Canyon Ridge High School, taught at Jerome Middle School before he began teaching in the fall of 2018 at South Hills Middle School.

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