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Thursday, Dec 18, 2014
Education

School board weighs $800K payout in student death


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TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School Board on Tuesday is poised to approve an $800,000 settlement with the parents of a student with a neuromuscular disorder who died after a medical emergency on a school bus.

Isabella Herrera, a second-grader who attended Sessums Elementary, died in January 2012, a day after a bus ride home during which she experienced medical problems. Neither the driver nor an aide called 911 as Herrera turned blue and stopped breathing in her wheelchair. Instead, Isabella’s mother was called twice.

The Herreras’ attorneys alleged in a federal lawsuit — later dismissed by a judge — that Isabella’s treatment by school officials was an act of discrimination.

Once it gets school board approval, the settlement will need to get the green light from the Hillsborough County Probate Court. A hearing is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

The agreement calls for any claims by the Herreras and their attorneys against the school board to be resolved. Dan Cotter, one of the Herreras’ attorneys, said Isabella’s mother, Lisa Herrera, will attend Tuesday’s meeting to address the board.

The board meets at 3 p.m. Tuesday at 901 E. Kennedy Blvd.

Her death was one of two that rocked the school district’s exceptional education department in 2012.

Jenny Caballero, an 11-year-old girl with Down syndrome, walked away from gym class in October 2012 and drowned in a pond at Rodgers Middle School.

The school board reached a settlement in December with the family that amounts to $500,000.

ekourkounis@tampatrib.com

(813) 259-7999

Twitter: @ErinKTBO

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