A four-count civil lawsuit filed in Camden County Circuit Court alleges the Camdenton R-III School District and a teacher at Camdenton High School engaged in a course of behavior that amounted to negligence and hazing.

A four-count civil lawsuit filed in Camden County Circuit Court alleges the Camdenton R-III School District and a teacher at Camdenton High School engaged in a course of behavior that amounted to negligence and hazing.

The lawsuit, filed by an unnamed adult Jane Doe on behalf of John Doe, a minor, stems from an incident on August 27, 2018. The lawsuit alleges that John Doe, then a 14-year-old freshman at Camdenton High School, experienced emotional trauma and what amounts to hazing when he was prevented from leaving social studies teacher John Garagnani’s classroom to use the restroom.

As a result, the student involuntarily relieved himself in the classroom in front of his peers.

According to court papers, Garagnani prevented the student from leaving in accordance with two Camdenton High School policies limiting movement in and out of classrooms: the 15/15 policy and the BIG5 policy.

The court petition outlines the policies based “upon information and belief”:

The 15/15 policy prohibits entry or exit from a classroom in the first or last 15 minutes of a class.

The BIG5 policy prohibits students from exiting a classroom in the last five minutes of class except for emergency.

The policies are not outlined in the Camdenton High School student handbook posted to the district’s website.

The petition indicates the minor expressed an emergency need to use the restroom to Garagnani in the waning minutes of the class. Garagnani allegedly refused to allow the student to exit the class, citing the school’s policies on exiting the classroom at the end of the period. According to the plaintiff’s attorneys, Garagnani’s refusal to let the student leave the classroom deprived him of a basic human right and caused an avoidable humiliating and emotionally traumatic situation.

The deliberate decision to violate the BIG5 policy’s clause of “except for emergency” was negligent, attorneys say.

“As a direct and proximate result of defendants’ negligence, John Doe Minor was exposed to foreseeable and known risks of severe injury and trauma,” the petition states.

The behavior, attorneys argue, could amount to hazing.

According to the district, hazing is “any activity that a reasonable person believes would negatively impact the mental or physical health or safety of a student or put the student in a ridiculous, humiliating, stressful or disconcerting position...”

The lawsuit brings four counts against the district and Garagnani: three counts of negligence and another of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

A hearing on the case, originally filed on Sept. 3, has not been set. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.

Camdenton R-III Superintendent Dr. Tim Hadfield declined to comment on the case, saying the school district does not comment on pending litigation or on personnel issues. He did not say if the district had reviewed the 15/15 of BIG5 policies.

Hadfield said the school district’s attorneys are expected to file a response to the allegations soon. The district is being represented by EdCounsel, LLC. Jane Doe and John Doe are being represented by attorneys Jerry Kirksey and Jesse Ankrom of the Kirksey Law Firm in Bolivar, Mo..