Video Shows Special Needs Student In MNPS Choking Death Lawsuit

Posted at 9:32 PM, Jan 22, 2018

Video obtained by NewsChannel 5 showed the student involved in an ongoing choking death lawsuit against Metro Nashville Public Schools.

The mother of Ron Witherspoon gave permission to release the video of her son seen choking inside the gym of Pearl Cohn High School before he died a week later in April 2015. 

The 20-year-old special needs student was in an induced coma after swallowing several paper towels inside a restroom. 

Attorneys for the family said he had the mental capacity of a three or four year old, and had a condition that made him want to swallow foreign objects called pica. 

The lawsuit, filed in May 2015, said he was designated to receive a one-on-one supervisor to watch him at all times. 

It stated that Ron was taken to the restroom by the supervisor and stood near the sink and swallowed several paper towels, causing him to choke. 

The supervisor called emergency personnel. 

The camera first captured Witherspoon sitting down in a chair with the staff members surrounding him. Some were seen were checking up on the students as he slipped off and appeared motionless on the floor. 

It took nearly five minutes before an officer gave CPR =and at least another four minutes before paramedics arrived. 

The lawsuit alleged that the school "failed to adequately supervise and/or monitor" the son despite knowledge of his mental condition and diagnosis. 

The attorneys for his family said the case is ongoing and a hearing is scheduled soon.

NewsChannel 5 reached out to a Metro Nashville Public Schools spokesperson for a statement about the status of the lawsuit but has not responded as of Monday evening.