NBC 4 New York
A Bronx high school student who was partially paralyzed after being shot is planning on suing the Department of Education, his lawyer says. The student says a school secretary ordered him to leave the school building shortly before the shooting.
A student at Bronxwood Preparatory Academy plans to sue the Department of Education after being shot while on the street after a dispute with a secretary over bathroom privileges, the I-Team has learned.
Maurice Jones, 17, is battling multiple sclerosis and a side effect of some of his treatment is incontinence, but he said his frequent requests to use the bathroom at Bronxwood met with harassment by a secretary who held the key.
Jones had notes from doctors confirming his problem, but after an outburst over the issue last fall -- when Jones threw a bag of cookies -- he was suspended from school.
It didn’t last.
After a hearing with the Department of Education, Jones was reinstated, the suspension overturned and all record of it expunged.
He returned to school on Nov. 7, and between classes asked the secretary for the bathroom key.
“She told me I wasn’t supposed to be in school because I was on suspension,” said Jones. “She said she was going to call security if I don’t leave.”
Jones said he wanted to avoid another altercation with the secretary, so he left the school and was walking along White Plains Boulevard near 228th Street when a bullet struck his abdomen.
“I was walking down the street. I didn’t even know what happened,” said Jones. “Crossfire.”
NYPD confirmed Jones was not the intended victim and the shooter has been arrested. The bullet pierced Jones’ colon and nicked his spinal cord.
“Every day I think, 'What if I would have never left?'” said Jones, who is now partially paralyzed.
“The secretary acted far in excess of what her duties are,” said Jones' lawyer, Frank Cassisi. “When she told him, 'Either you leave or I’ll call security because you don’t belong here,' that’s where the error started.”
Representatives from the school, including the secretary, did not return calls. A spokeswoman for the Department of Education told the I-Team, “The school said the student left the building without permission.”
“This child was only shot two blocks away from the school. He was only out of school for 10 minutes,” said Cassisi.
Also named in the notice of claim are Bronxwood’s principal, the secretary and the school’s chancellor.