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Teacher’s Child Abuse Causes Hemorrhaging, Medical Animation Used in Significant Settlement

Parents trust that their children are in safe hands when they are in the care of schoolteachers. However, when a California elementary school teacher was tasked with supervising a 10-year-old boy with special needs, she violently subdued him after he had an outburst. She held him down with her entire bodyweight, ignoring his pleas to get off of him. The encounter was so traumatic that it caused hemorrhaging in the boy. Chris Keane of The Keane Law Firm, an attorney advocating for the safety and rights of abused children, represented the boy against the school district and attained a significant settlement using a recreation of the traumatic incident.

The incident began when the boy grew unruly in class. His primary teacher put him in another instructor’s care after needing to step away. Running out of patience, the instructor could not get the boy to comply. She pinned him to the ground, to restrain him while he slowly calmed down. However, after immobilizing him on the floor, she then laid him prone on a nearby couch. Leaning with her entire bodyweight, she smothered him using a beanbag. The boy cried out he could not breathe, to which she callously responded, “If you couldn’t breathe, you wouldn’t be able to talk.”

The weight on the boy caused him to suffer petechiae across his face and body: small ruptured blood vessels underneath the skin that appear as small brown spots. While the injury did not hurt, the abusive act was terrifying – especially for a child with Down syndrome.

Seeking justice and help with their legal recourse, the boy’s parents found Chris Keane. Chris comforted the family and vowed to hold the school district accountable for their employee’s cruel abuse. With mediation in his sight, he needed to show how the woman’s excessive force resulted in neuropsychological and physical harm. Thus, Chris looked for a way to explain how the heavy weight affected the child’s anatomy. He worked with DK Global to illustrate the abuse and the boy’s resulting damages to the Defense and mediator.

The animation began with a contrasting view of the boy and the teacher, illustrating the 86-pound weight difference between the two. Then, a recreation of the event showed how the teacher illegally restrained the boy by pressing her entire bodyweight onto his back. A look at the child's physiology demonstrated how his diaphragm, chest cavity, and heart constricted from the weight, pressurizing his cardiovascular system’s blood flow. As a result, his lungs struggled to oxygenate his red blood cells. Finally, the immense stress in his veins ruptured his venous branches, resulting in burst blood vessels across his face.

Chris shared the animation with the school district’s attorneys during a mediation. After witnessing the teacher’s disturbing acts, they offered a significant settlement for the boy and his family.

Chris Keane has advocated for child abuse victims for over 25 years and is consistently rated one of the “500 Leading Plaintiff’s Lawyers in America” by Lawdragon Magazine. Chris received California's “Street Fighter of the Year” award in 2017 by CAOC after a precedent-setting Supreme Court victory resulting in protection for suspected abuse victims in California. A member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, Chris has recovered more than $60,000,000 for his clients.

"[The animation] not only accurately represented what happened to the little boy who I was representing who was abused, but also gave some dignity and life to the tragic event that happened to him."
Chris Keane – The Keane Law Firm
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