A California Superior Court jury has ruled that an unnamed student, who was forced to urinate in a bucket in the back of her classroom in 2012, will receive $1.3 million in settlement of a lawsuit.
The then 14-year-old girl, who was studying at Patrick Henry High School, was in the middle of a 25-minute advisory class led by her teacher Gonja Wolf when she had to use the restroom. But instead of letting her go to relieve herself, the teacher — who believed bathroom breaks were not permitted — asked the girl to go pee in a bucket in a supply room closet and then empty it into the sink.
A lawsuit was filed against the teacher and the management of the San Diego Unified School District in 2012, and stated Wolf did the above to “humiliate and disgrace” the girl for wanting to use the restroom during class.
The incident soon spread around the school and television crews showed up at the girl’s home, leading the girl to experience depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.
Wolf was placed on administrative leave and the school district began looking into the incident. The student, meanwhile, made a claim of $25,000 for the damaged caused to her, but it was denied by the district.
"Something like this never should have happened to a 14-year-old girl just entering high school," said Brian Watkins, the student's attorney.
"She took the stand and told a really embarrassing story. She told the jury how all of this adversely affected her life and how she is still working through issues."
Now, five years later, the San Diego Unified School District has been ordered to pay the 19-year-old approximately $1.25 million in damages and $41,000 to cover medical bills. The teen still undergoes therapy due to the incident, but, at least, she has received compensation for the trauma she had to experience.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Wolfgang Rattay