NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) -- A local mom is suing Metro Nashville Public Schools after she claims her mentally-disabled daughter was left unsupervised at school and had an accident that will leave her paralyzed for the rest of her life.
In the lawsuit filed in Davidson Co. on Friday, Virginia Dodson-Stephens asked for at least $300,000 in compensatory damages from the school district, as well as payment for past and future medical expenses stemming from her daughter's accident last year.
The lawsuit claims that on Feb. 23, 2018, Dodson-Stephens' now-adult daughter, Courtlynn Dodson, and other students were left unsupervised in a classroom at W.A. Bass Learning Center when she jumped out of an unlocked, unsecured window on the second story of the school and fell to the ground below.
Courtlynn was severely injured in the fall, breaking her leg and suffering "a severe and disabling spinal injury" that left her paralyzed -- even after life-saving surgery at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital -- and will require constant medical care for the rest of her life.
Courtlynn, 18, is considered "mentally disabled" and "legally incompetent," and has suffered from extensive medical issues since she was hospitalized with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome at birth.
She has since been diagnosed with a number of other disorders, including Dissociative Identity Disorder, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Major Depressive Affective Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Attention Hyperactivity Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Psychotic Disorder, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Mood Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Depressive Disorder, Insomnia and Schizoaffective Disorder.
As a by-product of Dissociation Identity Disorder, Courtlynn displays five distinct personalities within herself. She has also suffered from auditory and visual-command hallucinations that have caused her to harm herself and others since she was four years old.
Courtlynn was adopted by Dodson-Stevens in 2004 upon termination of her biological parent's parental rights.
She lived with Dodson-Stevens at her home in Rutherford Co. until she was required by court order to move to a Hermitage Hall Residential Treatment Center in 2016.
According to the lawsuit, the court order also prevented Courtlynn from returning to her mother's home where her adopted siblings also live "due to safety concerns as a result of her mental disability and instability."
Courtlynn's stay at Hermitage Hall was soon terminated, and she moved around to many other state-run facilities and schools before she was placed at the Wallace Group Home, operated by Youth Villages in Davidson County, and enrolled in the Transitional School Program at W.A. Bass Learning Center in Jan. 2018.
According to the lawsuit, Dodson-Stevens was "firmly against" placing Courtlynn in a public school "because of her concerns about supervision, medication and administration."
W.A. Bass School, a MNPS program "designed to assist students who have struggled in other academic settings for academic and behavior issues," evaluated Courtlynn and considered her a special needs student.
Dodson-Stevens claims that MNPS "knew or should have known" about her daughter's behavior and academic issues since her enrollment at W.A. Bass, including skipping class, breaking rules of conduct, displaying promiscuous behavior, using drugs at school with other students and reporting she was hearing voices.
Likewise, she says MNPS "knew or should have known" to keep her daughter and other special needs students under constant supervision -- especially in a room with an "unlocked and easily-opened" window that, according to the lawsuit, "a reasonable person would have taken steps to secure [...] knowing these students had access to it."
"Defendant MNPS owed Courtlynn Dodson a duty of care to take reasonable actions and precautions to protect her from the unreasonable risk or occurrence while at school," the lawsuit states. "It is reasonably foreseeable that a child with an extensive history of homicidal and suicidal issues, combined with her recent behavioral incidences at Defendant's W.A. Bass School, could cause harm to herself and/or others if left unsupervised in a classroom with an unlocked and unsecured window."
The lawsuit also claims the principal of W.A. Bass prevented a Dept. of Children's Service's investigator from speaking to any of her Courtlynn's teachers while looking into the incident.
News4 reached out to Dodson-Stevens' legal representation and MNPS for statements regarding the lawsuit but have not heard back.
Stay with us on-air and online for updates.