ELKINS, W.Va. — Parents of Randolph County students have named the Randolph County Board of Education and a teacher of a county elementary school in 13 lawsuits alleging mistreatment of their children.

Six parents spoke before the BOE during an August meeting, alleging that their children were mistreated by a teacher while enrolled in the pre-kindergarten program at Beverly Elementary School.

“We’ve already looked into it as a school system, and then we did the reporting requirements that we had to to DHHR and Child Protective Services,” Randolph County Schools Superintendent Dr. Gabe Devono told WAJR-Clarksburg following that meeting. “They’re looking into it, and we’ll be meeting with them off and on to find out where the progress is at this time.”

Now, those parents are taking legal action against the Board and against Kimberly Smith on counts of malicious, wanton and reckless acts and false imprisonment, according to complaints filed with the Randolph County Circuit Court.

“The defendant Kimberly Smith engaged in multiple malicious acts of physical and mental abuse toward her students in the Pre-K program, which exceeded the bounds of appropriate discipline,” the complaints claim.

The complaint continues to state that Smith threatened, bullied and intimidated the Pre-K students and caused significant anxiety and fear of excessive punishment of themselves or their classmates.

“The malicious and abusive conduct engaged in by Defendant Kimberly Smith included, but was not limited to Smith repeatedly putting Pre-K students in a closet and forcing them to remain there against their will,” the complaint says.

The complaint states that Smith’s actions violated the Employee Code of Conduct that requires her to create an environment in which all students are accepted and provided the opportunity to achieve at the highest level in all areas of development.

Additionally, the complaint claims that the students continue to have emotional stress, mental suffering, an ability to enjoy life, annoyance and inconvenience, medical expenses and other damages due to the permanent injuries inflicted by Smith’s misconduct.

Against the Randolph County BOE, the parents allege a count of negligence, stating that the Board has a duty and obligation to protect the safety and well-being of its students.

Messages left with Superintendent Devono’s office were not immediately returned.

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