A Louisiana woman who was arrested for allegedly attaching a listening device to her daughter’s wheelchair to record what she said was ongoing mistreatment is suing local law enforcement and school officials.
Amanda Carter says that Livingston Parish Public Schools discriminated against her daughter, a minor identified in the pleading only as “G.C.”, who was abused as an infant by her biological father and has been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and other impairments. She uses a wheelchair and receives various social services at school, including speech and occupational therapy, physical therapy, and social work services.
According to her lawsuit against the Livingston Parish School Board, the Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office and two law enforcement officials, Carter took the drastic step of attaching the recording device to G.C.’s wheelchair in the fall of 2022 after what she described as the “road of retaliation” that followed her efforts to make sure her daughter was safe at school.
“Amanda learned her daughter was being mistreated from a staff person so in order to assure her daughter’s safety, she put an audio recorder on G.C.,” the complaint says. “What she heard was horrific and Amanda complained again. School Officials figured out that Amanda had been taping the classroom activities and once again, retaliated by filing criminal charges against Amanda.”
Carter was arrested in December for what amounts to wiretapping charges. Those charges are still pending.
In her complaint, Carter alleges that one recording shows that the Livingston Parish schools “failed to provide G.C. any academic, related services or physical education services that day,” which Carter suspected had been happening for months.
Carter alleges that the recording revealed not only negligence toward her daughter, but efforts to target her for criminal prosecution as well.
“Worse yet, Amanda can also hear that staff are changing G.C.’s diaper on the floor as there is no bathroom or changing table,” the complaint said. “She hears staff laughing during the process and commenting they are not changing G.C.’s diaper enough. Amanda learns that staff are doing daily body searches of G.C. when she arrives at school in an effort to find evidence of bruising at home, so they could file other false reports with the DFPS, which they do over and over.”
Carter said she complained to G.C.’s school that her daughter wasn’t being properly restrained by her wheelchair seatbelt and officials weren’t using an arm restraint that would keep G.C. safe in her chair while traveling on the bus. She also alleges that some other students and even some school officials “would take turns sitting on G.C.’s lap when she was being transported across the campus in a wheelchair.”
When she complained, Carter says she was stonewalled at first and later targeted for retaliation, including with accusations of trespassing on school property.
“Rather than respond to Amanda’s concerns, the Public School staff started on a road of retaliation and weaponized the local Child Protective Services in an effort to chill Amanda’s advocacy,” the complaint states.
Carter alleges violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as her daughter’s constitutional rights — specifically her 4th and 14th Amendment protections. She also accuses the school district and officials of negligence and retaliation.
Carter says the defendants violated state law regarding civil rights protections for people with disabilities and raises an excessive force complaint against a school resource officer who she says caused significant injury when he detained her after she complained about her daughter’s treatment at the school.
Carter is seeking an undetermined amount of damages. She is also asking that the school board put a camera in G.C.’s classroom so she can monitor her status. The lawsuit also wants trespass warnings against Carter and her husband, Michael Carter, dropped, and for the schools to stop contacting child protective services.
The Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office declined Law&Crime’s request for comment. A call to Livingston Parish Public Schools went unanswered.
Read the complaint here.
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