A federal judge on March 2 dismissed a case against the local school district and three of its employees with regard to the arrest of an 8-year-old student who was accused of striking a teacher in December 2018.
The case is still pending against the Key West Police Department and three officers who were involved in the incident.
In August 2020, the boy’s mother, Bianca Di Gennaro, sued the school district, three employees of Gerald Adams Elementary, the Key West Police Department and three of its officers who were called to the scene.
In her suit, Di Gennaro alleges that the school district defendants and/or the school resource police officer “summoned (two additional police officers) to the school…for the purpose of teaching (the boy) a lesson and trying to scare him into ‘behaving’ in the future,” Judge K. Michael Moore writes in his 17-page order granting the school district’s motion to dismiss the case against them.
The police officers attempted to handcuff the boy, but removed them because they were too big for the boy’s wrists. The boy’s father had been called to the school and was reportedly in the building when police placed the boy in the back of a patrol car and told him he would be arrested.
Di Gennaro’s lawsuit claims that as a result of the incident, the child “suffered a psychological injury that manifested itself physically, i.e., loss of breath, hives, stomach aches, headaches, insomnia, nightmares, and refusal to sleep alone,” Judge Moore writes.
“Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that the school district defendants’ action of involving law enforcement was wrongful, much less unlawful,” Moore’s order states. “The Florida Statutes plainly authorize law enforcement intervention under the factual circumstances here. There was a report that (the student) struck his teacher, and the school district defendants summoned law enforcement to the school accordingly.”
The judge’s order granting the school district’s motion to dismiss ends the case for the school district unless Di Gennaro’s attorneys Ben Crump and Devon Jacob appeal, which is not likely at this point, Jacob told Keys Weekly on Wednesday morning.