Special Needs Children | Autism | Muscular Dystrophy

“She didn’t have to die”


A seven year old second grade student died after a ride on the school bus.  Isabella (Bella) Herrera suffered from muscular dystrophy a condition that made it nearly impossible for her neck muscles to support her head and keep it upright.  When Bella’s head isn’t supported properly, it tends to bob forward, cutting off her air way.

Dennis and Lisa Herrera (Bella’s parents) claim the school district violated the civil rights of their daughter when they failed to properly position Bella in her wheelchair (to keep her head from bobbing forward); failed to monitor her during the bus ride; and failed to provide medical care when Bella started choking on January 25th 2012.

“She was so sweet, she didn’t have to die” said Katharine Bower of Riverview, who joined other parents and concerned residents Thursday afternoon at the Hillsborough County School District headquarters to protest the deaths of two Riverview students while in the care of the school district.  ”My son was a friend of Bella’s, I’m here to show support for the family.” said Bower

“We need to be protecting students with disabilities, article IX of the Florida Constitution says we have a duty to provide a safe environment for all students.  Yet the school board has failed to address the issue.  And its policies and procedures are inadequate.  This is nothing short of negligence.” said Joe Robinson

April Griffin, a school board member, who was never informed of Bella’s death, sat in a closed session with other school board members to discuss the lawsuit filed by the Herreras.  ”I want people to treat the children in their charge as if they were their own children” said Griffin.

In an open letter to Superintendent Mary EllenElia, Autism Rights Watch (ARW) expressed their deep concerns over the safety of exceptional children on the autism spectrum and to offer help in their investigation.

Read the open letter from Autism Rights Watch by clicking here.

If you believe that you or a loved one has suffered because of the negligence of a health-care provider, contact The Maher Law Firm for a confidential and realistic assessment of your case today.



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