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Harris ex rel. Harris v. Board of Trustees of Clinton Public School Dist.

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

November 12, 2013

Jonathan Taylor HARRIS, by and Through His Natural Parents and Legal Guardians, Anthony T. HARRIS and Susan W. Harris, Appellant
v.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF the CLINTON PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT, John McKee, Tommie Cardin, Denotris Jackson, Nancy Perry, Dennis Dyse, Tommye Henderson, Corey Schneider, and Kevin Daniels, Appellees.

Page 101

David Neil McCarty, attorney for appellant.

Page 102

Elizabeth Lee Maron, James A. Keith, Jessica Iris Morris, Ridgeland, attorneys for appellees.

Before GRIFFIS, P.J., ISHEE and CARLTON, JJ.

GRIFFIS, P.J.

¶ 1. Jonathan Taylor Harris, a minor, by and through his natural parents and legal guardians, filed a tort-claims action against the Clinton Public School District as well as its board members and employees. The circuit court granted a summary judgment after finding the District and its board members and employees were immune from liability under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act (MTCA). We find no error and affirm.

FACTS

¶ 2. The facts of this case are not in dispute. On May 1, 2007, Clinton Junior High School administered the Mississippi Curriculum Test (MCT), a standardized, state-wide test conducted through the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE). MDE requires school districts to develop a testing-security plan for administration of the MCT in order to maintain and protect the security and integrity of the testing process. The District formulated and adopted its test-security plan. District employees were assigned to each classroom to administer and proctor the MCT.

¶ 3. The school plan also established a procedure for proctors to address " student emergencies," which included when a student needed to go to the bathroom or was faced with a sudden illness. Under the plan, a proctor would be assigned to each hall in case of a student emergency. The proctor would accompany the student to the office or wherever the student needed to go in the event of an emergency.

¶ 4. Kevin Daniels and Corey Schneider were teachers at Clinton Junior High. They administered and proctored the MCT exam for Harris's classroom. Harris, a seventh-grade student, took the MCT test under Daniels's and Schneider's supervision.

¶ 5. During the test, Harris raised his hand and requested to use the restroom. Schneider told Harris he could not leave the classroom during the test. After the test was over, Harris requested again if he could use the restroom. Daniels refused Harris's request, but asked if Harris could wait until the students were released for the next class. After about twenty minutes, Harris asked a third time if he could go to the bathroom. Daniels granted this request. As Daniels went to get the hall proctor to accompany Harris to the restroom, however, Harris urinated on himself in front of the classroom and his fellow students.

¶ 6. On December 17, 2007, Harris, by and through his natural parents and legal guardians, filed his complaint in the County Court of Hinds County. Harris alleged that the two denials to use the restroom by Daniels and Schneider were the proximate cause of emotional and financial damages he suffered from urinating on himself in front of his classmates. Harris claimed that the District, Daniels, Schneider, the superintendent, and the board members of the District, who were acting within the scope of their employment with the District, were liable for those damages under the tort theories of outrage, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, negligence per se, and negligent supervision.

¶ 7. The District filed a motion for summary judgment, pursuant to Mississippi Rule of Civil Procedure 56. The District claimed that it was immune from ...


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