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Mom Sues School District After Son Who Uses Wheelchair Breaks Both Legs While Left Unattended

A Colorado mother is suing her child's school district after her 12-year-old son was allegedly left unsupervised on a ramp in his wheelchair and crashed into a wall

<p>9NEWS/Youtube</p> Patricia Portillo Estrada and her 12-year-old son Esdras Cruz

9NEWS/Youtube

Patricia Portillo Estrada and her 12-year-old son Esdras Cruz

A Colorado mother is suing her son’s school district after he broke both his legs on school property and his injuries allegedly went untreated all day.

Patricia Portillo Estrada filed a lawsuit against Adams 12 Five Star Schools District on Monday alleging that her son’s school, Rocky Mountain Elementary, “intentionally discriminated” against him by not providing him with the proper support and supervision he required.

Estrada’s 12-year-old son, Esdras Cruz, has “multiple significant disabilities,” including “intellectual disabilities, orthopedic impairments, and speech or language impairments,” according to the filing obtained by PEOPLE. As a result, his “functional mobility” is impaired and he uses a “wheelchair, walker or mobility trike.”

Rocky Mountain Elementary repeatedly “failed to accommodate [Esdras] by failing to supervise or assist his functional mobility,” and on May 10, 2022, he “suffered bilateral fractures to the tibia and fibula of both legs after losing control of his wheelchair while navigating a ramp” by himself at his school, per the complaint.

Esdras' wheelchair “rolled down the ramp, picking up speed, before colliding with an opposing concrete wall," according to the complaint. His “knees absorbed the impact."

None of the school’s staff reported the student’s injury, despite “at least one unidentified school employee [discovering him] at the bottom of the ramp," according to the filling. Esdras was observed by “multiple staff members’ to be “on the verge of tears throughout the day” following the incident, but no one “took any action to investigate or treat his condition.” His mother was not made aware of her son’s injury until she picked him up at the bus stop after school.

Estrada kept Esdras home from school the next day, while the school claimed his pain was “due to shoulder discomfort,” per the filing, and continually “asserted that [he] had not suffered any injuries” while on the school’s premises. “Rather, it insisted that [Esdras’] pain was due to falling out of bed,” which the school claimed Esdras has said, but that claim was “disproved by the school’s internal investigation.”

Two days after the fall, Estrada took her son to the emergency room where he was diagnosed with “bilateral proximal tibial and fibular fractures,” per the complaint. “Treating the injuries required splinting and immobilizing” his legs, and he was “confined to a hospital bed for one week.” He spent the next month “bedridden due to his injuries.”

In June 2022, Estrada met with Rocky Mountain Elementary’s principal, Kate Vogel, who reviewed security camera footage of the incident and saw the 12-year-old lose control of his wheelchair.

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After seeing the footage, Estrada told CBS, "All I did was cry and cry." "He was completely by himself, and he went down a ramp and he crashed into a wall," she continued.

The lawsuit alleges that through Rocky Mountain Elementary, Adams 12 Five Star Schools District manifested “deliberate indifference to [Esdras’] health, wellbeing, and federally protected rights.”

It also noted that Esdras’ Individualized Education Program (IEP) “explicitly” states that he “requires supervision and assistance navigating ramps” as well as “safety monitoring from staff throughout the day due to medical, mobility, and functional issues.”

"One of the requirements of his special education plan was that he had to be constantly monitored in order to assist him with his movements. He was not supposed to be left alone and left to his own devices," the family's attorney Igor Raykin told CBS.

As a result of the school district’s “deliberate indifference” to Esdras’ “safety,” he “suffered a severe injury, incurring significant treatment and rehabilitation,” as well as “severe emotional distress, such as humiliation, frustration, anxiety, sadness, hopelessness, isolation, and other forms of mental and emotional anguish," the lawsuit alleges.

PEOPLE has reached out to Adams 12 Five Star Schools for comment.

A spokesperson for the district told CBS in a statement Monday, "At this time, the district has yet to be served with a complaint regarding this matter. If we are served with a complaint, the district's practice is not to share information on pending or ongoing litigation."

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