Friday, May 17 2013 6:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 22:16:47 GMT
Saturday's Powerball drawing is creeping toward record territory yet again. The May 18 lottery drawing is now worth $600 million, officials announced Friday. It's a $50 million jump from the $550 millionMore >>
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Friday, May 17 2013 5:35 PM EDT2013-05-17 21:35:21 GMT
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Friday, May 17 2013 4:43 PM EDT2013-05-17 20:43:21 GMT
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Friday, May 17 2013 4:37 PM EDT2013-05-17 20:37:02 GMT
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(ABC News)--The mother of a 16-year-old boy with special needs who died after being
physically restrained by school staff for allegedly refusing to leave
the basketball court at his school has filed a multi-million-dollar
lawsuit against the school.
"Losing Corey has been a painful and tragic occurrence," said Sheila
Foster, the mother of Corey Foster. "It's emotionally stressful. I took
this course of action to hold Leake & Watts school accountable and
to help change laws on restraint and seclusion in schools."
"I just don't want this to happen to another child," said Foster.
The lawsuit, filed in New York City, charges that Leake & Watts
School of suburban Yonkers, N.Y., and four specific staff members used
"physical force" on Corey "which resulted in pain, suffering, choking,
pre-death terror, and ultimately the death" of the student.
Surveillance video made public last month and aired on ABC News shows
the teenager playing basketball in the school gym alongside other
students and staff members on April 18, 2012. Minutes later he is
surrounded by staff in a corner of the gym where it appears he is pushed
against the wall and then restrained face-down by four staff members.
Nearly 45 minutes later he was removed from the gym on a stretcher.
"They circled him like thugs or a gang," said the Foster family's
lawyer, Jacob Oresky. "The staff members at Leake & Watts exercised a
lot of force on Corey Foster and they killed him."
Oresky said Leake & Watts has never issued an apology or
acknowledged any degree of fault in Corey's death. He wouldn't name a
precise figure that the family is seeking, but said "we anticipate this
will be a multi-million-dollar lawsuit."
"Schools and educational facilities need to understand that they are
trusted with our children and they should exercise the highest possible
degree of care in safeguarding their well being," said Oresky. "In this
case Leake & Watts failed to do so and we don't want to see any
other children at their facility or anywhere else injured or hurt due to
An autopsy ruled Corey's death an accident, saying he suffered "cardiac
arrest during an excited state while being subdued." In an email
statement to ABC News, Meredith Barber, director of institutional
advancement at Leake & Watts, said, "The consistent findings of
extensive third party independent reviews by the police, the District
Attorney's office, the medical examiner and state officials support
Leake & Watts' own internal review, which determined that on the
night of April 18th staff followed appropriate therapeutic practices
designed to support the young people in our care. Corey Foster's death
was a tragedy."
"In regard to the lawsuit," said Barber, "we look forward to addressing
its claims in court. Meanwhile, we remain focused on serving children,
adults and families with a wide range of needs and look towards doing
all that we can in the service of others."
Sheila Foster has joined forces with parents around the country whose
children have been killed or injured as a result of being physically
restrained or put into seclusion rooms at school. They are fighting back
and speaking up in support of national legislation that seeks to
institute a uniform standard on restraint and seclusion for the nation's
"There's thousands and thousands of children that have been traumatized,
that have been injured at the hands of the caregivers and it's just
unacceptable," said Rep. George Miller, D.-California, sponsor of the
While progress has been made at the state level in strengthening laws
and statues, many parents and advocacy groups in support of the federal
legislation say it's been too slow and the inconsistencies between and
within states leave children with disabilities vulnerable.
Foster said she grieves the loss of her son every day and is determined
to help make a difference regarding restraints and seclusions in
schools. "It's been an emotional rollercoaster but I'm willing to ride
it out until I see justice for Corey," said Foster. "I'm not stopping."
"I know I won't feel him hug me anymore, or say, 'I love you, mommy,'"
said Foster. "And this shouldn't happen anymore to another child, to
another family. Someone powerful has to step in and say this isn't