Hoover High student files lawsuit against school employees, BOE, city and police department

A student at Hoover High School has filed a lawsuit in federal court after being arrested for an incident involving an in-school suspension supervisor and Hoover police officer.{}

Five defendants, the Hoover Board of Education, the City of Hoover, the Hoover Police Department, officer Christopher Bryant, school principal Don Hulin and school employee Jared Whited, are listed in the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court by Tieshka Avery on behalf of her daughter Ashlynn Avery May 2. The plaintiff is seeking punitive and compensatory damages for civil rights violations.

Ashlynn Avery claims excessive force and battery was used when she was taken into police custody after falling asleep at her desk while in in-school suspension. The suit states that Whited, after noticing the sleeping Avery, hit the cubicle she occupied, causing it to hit her head before waking her up. She then fell back asleep, prompting Whited to allegedly slam one of her books down on her desk. The book was said to have bounced off the desk, hitting Avery in the chest.

Avery listed chronic medical conditions -- diabetes, asthma and sleep apnea -- as reasons for her sleeping in school.

Next, the suit claims Whited ordered her to leave the room and while walking down a school hallway, officer Bryant allegedly slapped her backpack. After Avery told the officer to "Leave her alone," the lawsuit states that Bryant shoved her then placed her in handcuffs and proceeded to transport her to the police station.

Avery reportedly vomited in the car along the way, prompting the officer to take her to a hospital where she was treated.

A Hoover High School spokesperson provided a statement to ABC 33/40 from Donald Sweeney, the attorney representing the Hoover Board of Education and its employees, Hulin and Whited.

It states, "Hoover High School is one of the premier high schools in America because of its professional staff," Sweeney said. "School officials at Hoover High School would never engage in conduct as alleged in the complaint and did not do so. The allegations are without factual basis. The Hoover school officials and police officer named in the complaint will adamantly deny the allegations of misconduct."

The Averys are being represented by attorney Virginia Applebaum of The Applebaum Firm, LLC.

ABC 33/40 was unable to reach Ashlynn Avery and her mother for comment Friday night.