Gohl v. Livonia Pub. Schs., No. 15-2301 (6th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
J.G.’s mother, Gohl, enrolled J.G. (age 3) in the Webster School Moderate Cognitive Impairment Program. During the year, his teacher,Turbiak, a 12-year special education teacher, faced criticism that she was overly harsh. It was reported that she pushed on children’s shoulders, once force-fed a gagging and crying student, and lifted children by one arm. During a meeting with Principal Moore, Turbiak admitted that she was “stressed out.” Although Moore told Turbiak not to do so, Turbiak called a meeting to find out who had complained. Turbiak’s co-workers returned to Moore, fearing retaliation. Turbiak was sent home for a few days and warned to be more professional, or face disciplinary action. The letter did not accuse Turbiak of abusing students. For four months, no one reported any problems. Then a social worker saw Turbiak “grab [J.G.] by the top of his head and jerk it back quite aggressively.” Turbiak claimed she was using a “redirecting” technique to focus J.G.’s attention after he threw a toy. A special education teacher familiar with this technique thought this sounded reasonable and returned Turbiak to her classroom. After a subsequent investigation, the district placed Turbiak on administrative leave. Gohl sued on J.G.’s behalf. The Sixth Circuit affirmed summary judgment in favor of the defendants; Gohl did not sufficiently allege violation of the Constitution, the Americans with Disabilities Act, or the Rehabilitation Act.