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[IP] Parents move forward with lawsuit against school administrator

 <A HREF="http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/local/palmbeach/search/sfl-pdiabetic04nov04.story">Sun-Sentinel: News</A>
Parents move forward with lawsuit against school administrator

By Scott Travis 
Education Writer 
Posted November 4 2002 

The parents of a diabetic girl are suing a Palm Beach County school 
administrator, saying she improperly yanked an insulin device that was 
attached to the student.

Jeffery and Deborah Wagner are seeking at least $15,000 from Nereyda 
Astiasaran-Perez, the assistant principal at Eagles Landing Middle School, 
west of Boca Raton.

The lawsuit, filed last month in Circuit Court, stems from an incident in 
March, in which Astiasaran-Perez mistook an insulin pump for a beeper.

A school district investigation from April cleared the assistant principal of 
any wrong doing, although Judy Hyman, the Wagners' lawyer, said that 
investigation was inadequate. Hyman works for prominent lawyer Bob 

"The district has nothing to say in terms of what happened except (Nicole) 
showed too much attitude," Hyman said. "That was their investigative report."

The investigation and the lawsuit paint two versions of what happened.

According to investigation and school district officials, Astiasaran-Perez 
called student Nikki Wagner over during lunchtime because she should have 
been sitting down. The administrator saw what appeared to be a beeper on her 
waist. Students are not allowed to bring beepers to school.

Wagner, 14 at the time of the incident, said it was not a beeper, but the 
assistant principal kept asking what it was, Principal Ira Margulies said in 
March. Wagner took it off, put it on a table and ran out of the cafeteria, 
Margulies said.

Astiasaran-Perez soon realized it was a medical device and called the 
school's police officer, who immediately found Wagner and returned it, 
Margulies said.

The Wagners say in their lawsuit that Astiasaran-Perez, in front of all the 
students in the cafeteria, demanded, "Give me that beeper" to Nicole. When 
Nicole tried to explain that it was an insulin pump, Astiasaran-Perez refused 
to listen, according to the lawsuit. Wagner took the pump from Nicole and 
pulled the pump, the lawsuit states.

The incident caused Nicole to get a laceration and infection, Hyman said. The 
girl suffered "scarring, mental anguish, inconvenience and loss of the 
enjoyment of life," according to the lawsuit.

Margulies said that school administrators could not comment about the lawsuit 
and referred questions to the district's public information office. District 
spokeswoman Vickie Middlebrooks said the district's policy is not to comment 
about pending litigation.

The Wagners have been vocal advocates of diabetic children. They have visited 
congressional offices, joined a School District health committee, created a 
diabetes Web site and lobbied schools on behalf of parents who have had 
similar problems. They could not be reached for comment.

Scott Travis can be reached at email @ redacted or 561-243-6637.        
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