Settlement reached in West Sabine Elementary defecation check lawsuit

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Both sides in a federal lawsuit against the three West Sabine Independent School District employees have reached an agreement.

The original complaint included the school district in the lawsuit but the plaintiff and his attorney made  the decision to drop West Sabine ISD from the lawsuit after it was determined that there was no evidence that the school board, which is the policy maker for the district, knew anything about the search beforehand.

In the lawsuit, the parent of a fourth-grader alleged that faculty members violated his son's Fourth Amendment rights when they checked his rear end for evidence of feces.

"The Court has been advised through the Report of Mediation that the parties have settled all claims in controversy in the above reference case," stated an order filed in the U.S. District Court's Marshall Division. "The final motion to dismiss should be submitted on or before 30 days from the date of this order."

Wes Little and his Lufkin attorney, Brent Watkins, filed the federal lawsuit against West Sabine ISD, principal Deborah Lane, and school nurse Jo Ann Clark back in February 2013.

"My thought was that the school had taken this too far," Watkins said in a previous East Texas News story.

Little filed the lawsuit two weeks after Lane and Clark checked every fourth-grader for evidence to find out who had defecated on the gym floor. School staff said they only peeked inside their pants. However, the lawsuit alleged that Clark pulled each child's pants and underwear down past their buttocks.

"In this case even if they had, which they didn't find any feces I don't know that would've been proof they were looking for," Watkins said in a previous East Texas News story. "I don't know that would have given sufficient proof to say that this child is the child that was defecating on the gym floor."

Watkins said, "You have to have specific evidence against those people or at least a suspicion to be able to search those individuals and in this case we didn't feel, my client didn't feel, there was sufficient evidence to do a search of that nature."

In the complaint, Little argued his son's Fourth Amendment rights were violated because of the "supposed school infraction and the limited likelihood of injury to the student populace."

The Fourth Amendment guards against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Watkins says he and his client are happy with the outcome of the case.

"The purpose of this suit was not to make money," said Watkins. "The purpose of this suit was to bring attention to something my client felt was improper and hopefully bring attention to in a way that would correct it for the future and I think that has been done."

Copyright 2014 KTRE. All rights reserved.