Student involved in altercation with James Clemens Assistant Principal in 2022 files lawsuit

WAFF 48's Margo Gray reporting
Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 5:59 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 21, 2023 at 6:01 PM CDT

MADISON CO., Ala. (WAFF) - The student involved in an altercation with a James Clemens High School administrator in Dec. 2022 has filed a federal complaint against Madison City Schools and the school’s administrators.

The lawsuit states that the 15-year-old student (Jane Doe) is suing Madison City Schools, former JCHS principal Brian Clayton and Assistant Principal Jason Watts.

The altercation happened on Dec. 14, 2022, and started when Jane Doe, who is a special education student, got into an argument with another student on the bus to go home over a seat.

While Jane Doe and the other student were arguing, Watts allegedly approached the students while Clayton was standing at the front of the bus watching, meanwhile, a School Resource Officer was not called.

Court documents state the student Jane Doe was arguing with then punched her in the stomach, that student was then escorted off of the bus by Watts, but an SRO was not called.

Watts then came back onto the bus as Jane Doe was attempting to exit the bus, that is when Watts allegedly grabbed her wrist and pushed her back into one of the bus seats. At this time multiple students on the bus were recording the altercation.

James Clemens High School Assistant Principal/Athletic Director Jason Watts can be seen striking the student in the head with his hand while on a school bus. Th

As stated in the documents and as seen on video recordings, Watts was standing and Jane Done was seated. Watts pushed his forearm against Jane Doe’s face which forced her head back into the seat, at this time an SRO was still not called.

In response to the motion, Jane Doe bit Watts on the arm. Watts retaliated by then “punching Jane Doe in the face with a closed fist.” Watts allegedly punched Jane Doe in the head two more times.

During this interaction Clayton remained at the front of the bus, he did not stop Watts nor did he assist Jane Doe, documents read. At this time an SRO has still not been called.

Another student jumped up and acted to stop Watts by jumping on his back and yelling “you should not hit a woman!” Watts turned to the minor and pointed his finger in the minor’s face.

At this time Clayton stepped in to get Watts off the bus so that “pictures could be taken of the bite mark”, it was also at this moment an SRO was told to arrest Jane Doe.

Bite marks sustained by Madison City Schools Assistant Principal
Bite marks sustained by Madison City Schools Assistant Principal(Madison City Schools)

Jane Doe was handcuffed and taken away from JCHS in a deputy car, and her mother was informed by a JCHS representative. The lawsuit states that the representative did not tell Jane Doe’s mother that Watts had hit her daughter in the face or that she required medical attention.

Once Jane Doe was released, she was transported to urgent care for head injuries. The next day Clayton distributed the photos of the bite marks to the media “making the point that Defendant Watts was the victim.” The document also states that Clayon concealed the information that Watts had punched a “15-year-old special education girl.”

Jane Doe was suspended and was not allowed to return to classes for weeks. As of Jan. 2023, Jane Done has been placed in an alternative school and is now “required to ‘earn’ her way back into school.”

The following is from the “Pray for Relief” section of the lawsuit highlighting what Jane Doe is suing for:

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff Jane Doe requests this Court enter an Order which will:

A. Declare the conduct engaged in by the Defendants to be in violation of Plaintiff

Jane Doe’s rights under federal and Alabama law;

B. Enter appropriate declaratory and injunctive relief;

C. Award Plaintiff Jane Doe compensatory damages against the Defendants, in an

amount that will fully compensate her for the physical injuries, severe emotional

distress, and concern that she has suffered as a direct and/or proximate result of the

statutory and common law violations as set out herein;

D. Enter a judgment against all Defendants for such punitive damages as will properly

punish them for the Constitutional, statutory and common law violations

perpetrated upon Plaintiff as alleged herein, in an amount that will serve as a

deterrent to Defendants and others from engaging in similar conduct in the future;

E. Award Plaintiff Jane Doe prejudgment and post-judgment interest at the highest

rates allowed by law;

F. Award Plaintiff Jane Doe costs, expert witness fees, and reasonable attorneys’ fees;

G. Assume continuing and indefinite jurisdiction to ensure compliance with the terms

of the Orders requested herein; and,


H. Award Plaintiff Jane Doe such other and further relief, including equitable, that this

Court deems just and proper.

Jane Doe demands trial by struck jury.


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