SAN DIEGO – A former high school student forced to urinate in a bucket in class after she asked to go to the restroom has won a $1.25 million lawsuit in the case, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
A Superior Court jury sided with the former Patrick Henry High School student in the 2012 incident and San Diego Unified School District was ordered to pay more than $1.25 million in damages, according to the newspaper.
San Diego Unified denied her initial claim seeking $25,000, the paper reports.
The student filed the lawsuit after a teacher denied her request to go to the bathroom during a 25-minute advisory class. Instead, the teacher showed that student to a supply room where she privately urinated in a bucket.
Following the incident, the girl endured gossip, cruel text messages, experienced depression and attempted suicide, the paper reported.
“Something like this never should have happened to a 14-year-old girl just entering high school,” the student's attorney Brian Watkins said, according to the San Diego Tribune.
“She took the stand and told a really embarrassing story. She told the jury how this has affected her life and how she is still working through issues.”
The school district's attorney argued that the teacher mistakenly thought there was a strict no-bathroom-break policy and thought she had found a solution. She never intended to embarrass her student, the attorney said.
The shorter-period advisory classes during which the plaintiff asked to go to the bathroom provide study time for students.
School officials told teachers they expected frequent bathroom breaks would undermine the period and to use common sense when students asked to use the bathroom, the district's attorney said during the trial.
The district called the verdict disappointing. Since the incidnet, the school has made it clear to teachers that students should not be denied trips to the bathroom, an attorney said.
The newspaper reported that the former student, now 19 years old, transferred to two other schools before finally graduating from a charter school. She now has a job and attends therapy sessions due to post-traumatic stress.