THE INVESTIGATORS: Louisiana School for the Deaf investigating after student’s face left scratched, bruised

An image shared with the 9News Investigators shows scratches on a 6-year-old boy around the eye and near his hairline plus bruising around his eyelid.
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 5:14 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - A mother is demanding answers after her deaf son’s face was bruised and scratched while he was at school last week. No one knows when it happened but leaders with the Louisiana School for the Deaf are looking into the matter.

An image shared with the 9News Investigators shows scratches around 6-year-old Dakhori Perkins’ eye and near his hairline plus bruising around his eyelid. His mother, Terri Patterson, says that is how her son got off the bus after coming home from the Louisiana School for the Deaf on Monday, May 16.

A mother is demanding answers after her deaf son's face was bruised and scratched while he was...
A mother is demanding answers after her deaf son's face was bruised and scratched while he was at school last week. No one knows when it happened but leaders with the Louisiana School for the Deaf are looking into the matter.(Family)

“I was furious. I mean I was crying, mad and upset,” said Patterson.

Patterson’s attorney, Ashley Greenhouse, said it’s unacceptable. She says it’s not okay for something like this to happen at a school where special care should be taken to keep children safe and help them learn.

“I just can’t imagine what this mother experienced having put her child back in the lion’s den,” said Greenhouse.

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This is not the first time WAFB has reported alleged incidents at the Louisiana School for the Deaf with the same student. Back in 2019, the school looked into claims that her then 3-year-old son was stuffed into a cubby hole. Back then, the school investigated after she accused two teachers of trapping him behind a bookshelf during nap time. Patterson claims she only found out about that situation because she showed up at the school unexpectedly to check him out.

WAFB’s Scottie Hunter asked the mother why she put her son back into the school after taking him out in 2019.

“I did it because the public school tried to put him in special ed and so he wasn’t learning anything,” said Patterson. “There’s no other place for them. There’s no other school in the state for the deaf.”

“She had to choose between an education that may not satisfy his educational needs and then she has this as far as his physical safety so a parent shouldn’t have to choose that,” Patterson added.

WAFB reached out to the school asking about the situation. In a statement, a spokesperson said they are looking into it but cannot give any specifics because of privacy laws.

A meeting was called with school administrators the day after the alleged incident. A recording of that meeting was given to the 9News Investigators. In it, Ty Manieri, the general counsel for the Special School District, told Patterson they are investigating.

While officials in the meeting admit they don’t know when or how the incident happened, they’re focusing on whether the students were properly supervised and whether the situation was reported appropriately.

“I need to know how this happened to Dakhori’s eye and two, whether or not our staff should have seen when this happened,” said Manieri. “The second issue is the issue of reporting.”

Patterson and her legal team say something needs to be done about what they say is happening to students who can’t speak up for themselves at the Louisiana School for the Deaf.

“Somebody should have said something when they saw it because they know he did not show up to school this way,” said Greenhouse. “They failed this parent and we’re going to seek justice in this instance.”

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