Parents File Suit Against Concord School Claiming Abuse

Parents filed a class action lawsuit against a Concord school Wednesday, alleging their children endured being aggressively disciplined and in some cases, physically restrained.

"She explained to me it was like being hung up on a wall like a coat on a hook and her legs were spread open," said a parent who chose to remain anonymous.

She explained what happened to her daughter on more than one occasion at Marchus School in Concord.

"I witnessed with my own eye … my daughter being held around the back on the floor," she said. "His legs around my daughter with my daughter in his lap."

The mother’s 20-year-old daughter was placed in Marchus School because she has special needs, suffering from emotional disturbances, attention deficit disorder, anxiety and depression.

"The restraint is supposed to be the very last resort," she said.

Other parents named in the lawsuit have similar stories. One parent said their child was picked up and thrown against a wall for tossing a water bottle toward a staff member.

"We were taken aback … this school has an impeccable reputation," said Terry Koehne, spokesperson for the Contra Costa County Office of Education, one of three departments being sued.

Koehne said he can’t comment on the lawsuit but added the school’s staff is on the cutting edge when it comes to restraint training adding that because students at the school have special needs, there are times when they must be restrained.

"Sometimes students will be overly aggressive, but we only do it when a child or student is harm to themselves or others," he said.

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