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Lawsuit claims 10-year-old girl forced to urinate in cup on school bus

Updated: January 9, 2013 8:53AM

A Wilmington couple is suing a southwest suburban school district because their 10-year-old daughter was humiliated on a field trip last January when teachers allegedly refused to stop for a bathroom break and forced her to urinate in a cup on a moving school bus.

Todd and Lisa Holmes filed the emotional distress lawsuit Tuesday against Wilmington School District 209U, Supt. Jay Plese and Wilmington Middle School, among others.

The family’s attorney, Telly Nakos, said teachers shielded the 10-year-old girl with coats as she urinated into a cup in the front stairs of the bus, while it was still driving down the road.

The girl was among a group of middle-school boys and girls returning from a Jan. 10, 2012, field trip to a Chicago Wolves hockey game.

Nakos said the girl had asked multiple times to stop the bus so she could use the restroom. The bus driver contacted a dispatcher and asked to stop but was denied. Teachers did nothing to encourage the bus driver to pull over, Nakos said.

The bus later pulled over so the girl could throw out the contents of the cup, he said.

“Obviously the parents are very distraught and upset that this happened,” he said. “They entrust the parents and the teachers and the chaperones on the field trip to provide a safe environment for the children and what occurred was just outrageous.”

“I don’t think any parent would ever imagine this could happen to their child,” Nakos said.

The parents claim their daughter — who is named only as Jane Doe in the lawsuit — was humiliated and suffered extreme emotional distress from the incident.

The Southern Will County Cooperative for Special Education and one of its employees also are named as defendants because they were part of the trip, but the girl is not a special needs student, Nakos said.

Two Wilmington Middle School teachers also are being sued, as is the Illinois Central School Bus, its bus driver and its radio bus dispatcher.

None of the defendants could be reached for comment Tuesday night.

A Wilmington school district spokesperson declined to comment.

The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, claims three counts of emotional distress and seeks more than $150,000 in damages.

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