The alleged abuse started in 2004, occurred for more than a decade, and involved at least one instance where a bus driver witnessed a school employee slap Rosa.
According to the lawsuit, the Smith family made a “plethora of complaints” to school officials. “The school assured them that they were taking care of it, that they [the parents] were overreacting, that whatever was happening, whatever they saw or thought was going on, that it was the student’s fault,” Marko shared.
The majority of the alleged abuse – like the taping of Rosa’s mouth – occurred last year. Rosa has to wear diapers due to her limited mobility and was allegedly left in soiled ones for hours on at least one occasion.
After telling Rosa’s mother that they were handling the alleged abuse, the Washtenaw Intermediate School District is now victim-blaming her in its official statement to the media.
“As to the subject of this lawsuit, the family did not report this, or any other complaint to the district until nearly a year after it occurred. During that subsequent year, the student continued attending school, in the same classroom, with the same teacher,” the district said.
Smith didn’t take Rosa out of the school until earlier this year because she didn’t know how much abuse and neglect her daughter had allegedly experienced at the hands of the people who were supposed to help her.
“We can make sure that no one else is being abused, and we can stop the abuse from taking place. Had they fulfilled their legal duty 10 years ago, it could have prevented a lot of the torture that Rosa underwent,” Marko said.