Sub hurled book at 5th-grade boy, hitting his head and reopening stitches, lawsuit says

A substitute teacher at Camas Prairie Elementary School threw a hardbound book at a fifth-grade boy last year, hitting him in the head and reopening stitches from a previous wound, the student’s family said in a lawsuit.

The boy’s guardian, Sarah Hettrick, filed the suit Sept. 5 in Pierce County Superior Court, seeking unspecified damages from the Bethel School District.

Bethel spokesman Doug Boyles said the school district did not have a comment about the lawsuit, except to say that it was reviewing the complaint.

“As always, our highest priority here is the safety of students,” Boyles said.

According to the lawsuit and an attorney for the family:

The student, identified by the initials K.R., had pre-existing stitches from a fall at his house.

Then Jan. 19, 2016, the substitute teacher threw a textbook at the 11-year-old as he was bending over to tie his shoes. The book hit the boy in the forehead.

“My understanding, generally, was that there may have been some students off task, and the teacher potentially grew frustrated,” said Ashton Dennis, one of the family’s lawyers. “(The boy) had to go back in and get medical care, and the next step will potentially be plastic surgery down the road.”

Dennis said the boy has since turned 12 and moved onto middle school.

The school district prohibited the substitute from working at the elementary school for the rest of the 2016 school year, the attorney said.

But he hopes they’ll go further.

“Whether or not it was an accident, throwing a book is not appropriate,” Dennis said. “We think she should not be a teacher in the Bethel School District whatsoever.”

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268, @amkrell