Jury deciding school isolation booth case

TACOMA, Wash. -- A federal jury is deciding whether the Longview School District violated the constitutional rights of five former students who claimed they were placed inside an isolation booth at an elementary school.

The Daily News of Longview reports that jury deliberations began after closing arguments ended Thursday.

The former students allege that former special education teacher Jerry Stein illegally placed them inside a 4-by-4-foot isolation booth when they were general education students. State law at the time prohibited use of restraint and isolation on general education students for non-emergency reasons.

A lawyer for the families, Roger Davidheiser, said families are seeking a total of nearly $18 million in damages, including loss wages, salaries and employment opportunities.

Francis Floyd, a lawyer for the school district, sought to convince jurors that the plaintiffs failed to meet their burden of proof.