Students file tort lawsuit against Caldwell School District

A tort lawsuit has been filed against several Caldwell agencies, including the Caldwell School District, after an employee was arrested for allegedly forcing high school students to fight.

A tort lawsuit has been filed against several Caldwell agencies, including the Caldwell School District, after an employee was arrested for allegedly forcing high school students to fight.

A tort lawsuit has been filed against the Caldwell School District after an employee was arrested for allegedly inciting high school students to fight.

Ettson Arreola, 20, was arrested Jan. 27 by the Caldwell Police Department after school resource officers said they found a video on social media of two male and two female students fighting at Syringa High School. they encourage

Caldwell County spokeswoman Jessica Watts told the Idaho Statesman that they learned of the incident on Jan. 26 and “immediately contacted law enforcement.”

A three-page lawsuit is seeking $500,000 on behalf of a student who said he was called to the front of the class to defend himself against another student.He repeatedly hit her on the head and face for 10 seconds.”

“This is beyond any kind of negligence; this is outrageous and unconscionable behavior by both the employee and the Caldwell School District that employed him,” Boise attorney Joe Filichetti wrote in the lawsuit, which was also filed against the Caldwell School District Board of Trustees and Syringa High School.

Idaho law requires that a tort claim, which is not a lawsuit, be filed before an individual can bring an agency alleging a violation of state law. The agency has 90 days to respond.

According to the lawsuit, the student suffered mental and emotional trauma, along with some minor injuries, including sore ribs and a headache. She is expected to require medication for depression and anxiety and extensive counseling.

Police said last week that the students were not injured, and in a follow-up message, Caldwell Police Department spokesman Char Jackson told the Statesman that while the students were being interviewed, “no injuries were reported.”

According to the lawsuit, the student does not want to go to school and wants to “run away from the Caldwell School District” to get a private education. He was bullied by other students and considered a “terrorist,” the affidavit said.

Arreola has been charged with nine misdemeanors: four counts of injury to a child; four counts of violation of the act of correction of minors, inciting a minor to fight; and one count of inciting a riot, according to online police and court records. He was booked into the Canyon County Jail but has since been released on $10,000 bond, court records show.

He has been released from the school district and “will not be returning to work at our school or district,” Watts said.

A Caldwell police report previously said Arreola was a substitute teacher at the high school, but the tort lawsuit said Arreola was a full-time employee working as a school aide, covering the teacher’s classes for two hours.

Watts told the Statesman in an email Thursday that Arreola is an assistant. He said all district employees, including Arreola, are fingerprinted and must pass a background check before being hired.

Details of torture allegations

The lawsuit also provided what it says are new details about the incident, saying Arreola allegedly covered the teacher’s fourth and seventh classes for sixth-graders on Jan. 26, according to the lawsuit.

In the fourth period, the lawsuit alleges, Arreola told the students he would give them candy if they told him who they had a crush on. Then, in seventh period, Arreola handed out a worksheet and asked the students, “Who has beef with each other?”

Four students, including the student who filed the harassment claim, were identified by their classmates and Arreola was told to fight back.

Arreola also asked the class if there were any “witnesses” and pointed to a male student who told Arreola he would buy the student McDonald’s if she kept quiet. Other students were “ordered” to close the classroom door and lower the window shades, the report said.

Arreola told the students they could record the fights if his face was not in the video, and the students posted at least three videos on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat, the affidavit said.

The lawsuit also alleges that the school district has not been in contact with the student’s family, except when he made a statement to the school resource officer.

“The Caldwell School District has zero tolerance for this type of behavior,” Superintendent Shalene French said in a news release following Arreola’s arrest. “The safety and well-being of every child is of primary importance to the district. Urgent measures were taken in the region to ensure the safety of all students. We will help the involved students and actively cooperate with law enforcement agencies.”

Watts said in an email that the district has “zero tolerance” for allegations against Arreola and that the safety and well-being of students is “the district’s primary concern.”

“As you can imagine, this news is concerning for our students and staff,” Watts said. “Over the weekend, we put plans in place so any student directly or indirectly affected will be supported by school counselors Monday morning.”

This story was originally published February 2, 2023 12:20 p.m.

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