Balkan & Patterson Files Suit Against School Board of Lee County for Abuse of Special Needs Student

The personal injury and abuse law firm of Balkan & Patterson filed a lawsuit this week against the School Board of Lee County on behalf of a family whose child was abused by his kindergarten teacher at Gulf Elementary School.

The child, whose name and age are withheld to maintain privacy, is a low functioning, non-verbal special needs students with very limited abilities to communicate with his parents or the outside world. While a student in the classroom of Catherine Hile, his teacher, she subjected him to physical violence and abuse. Hile’s actions were seen by a number of teachers’ aids, who reported the abuse to the school’s administration.

“The school had a responsibility to our clients and their child, which was to provide him with a safe, healthy environment in which to learn,” said attorney Adam Balkan. “However, this child, who is virtually helpless against the abuses he suffered, received nothing but inadequate care and was subjected to physical violence over an extended period of time.”

Despite the fact that the school board was aware of Hile’s actions, she remained in her classroom where she continued to abuse our client. It was not until the end of the school year that she was removed from her position. She had a prior history of violence toward students in other schools, and the School Board of Lee County failed to properly evaluate their teachers, provide sufficient training and an appropriate level of supervision.

“In addition to failing to take action to put an end to the mistreatment of our minor client, the school board has a duty to fully investigate the backgrounds of their employees to ensure they are qualified to work with special needs students. This did not happen with Ms. Hile,” Mr. Balkan said.

The attorneys of Balkan & Patterson have filed suit in the United State District Court, Middle District of Florida, Fort Myers Division. Mr. Balkan is a board certified civil trial lawyer and a partner in the law firm of Balkan & Patterson, LLP. The firm was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida, at 601 S. Federal Highway, Suite 302. Mr. Balkan can be contacted at (561) 750-9191. Additional information about Balkan & Patterson, LLP may be obtained from the firm’s website at

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