weather icon Partly Cloudy

Settlement reached in Floyd Elementary abuse case

An $800,000 tentative settlement with the plaintiffs in the Floyd Elementary School abuse case back in 2010 was approved by the Nye County School District Board of Trustees on Jan. 13.

The plaintiffs are the parents of children who filed a federal lawsuit claiming their children were physically abused at the hands of some faculty members at the school. The school district was named as a co-defendant as well.

The lawsuit was seeking $12.15 million for pain and suffering, and $10 million in punitive damages for the plaintiffs.

In a statement issued by the school district on Friday, Superintendent Dale Norton said the proposed settlement is conditioned upon the United States District Court of Nevada’s approval of the settlements.

“The proposed settlement is in the amount of $800,000 which the district believes would be divided equally among the three plaintiffs in the lawsuits,” he said. “Of these funds, however, the district believes that approximately $550,000 will be retained by the plaintiffs’ counsel as attorney fees and litigation.”

Norton went on to say the remaining funds must be placed into a blocked trust account as part of the settlement.

“They (the funds), may only be accessed by the plaintiffs upon approval of the court,” he said. “There is no estimation as to when this matter will be ruled upon by the court.”

Principal Holly Lepisto and teacher Sarah Hopkins were taken into custody during school hours along with classroom aides Phyllis DuShane and Kathryn Cummings in November 2010.

According to court documents, at least three of the defendants were accused of administering physical punishment on several special needs students, which included “flicking” the students in the mouth and “bopping them in the face.” Additionally, defendants Hopkins, Dushane and Cummings were accused of using their hands to push and shove or forcibly make the children sit back in their seats.

Court documents claimed that Principal Lepisto covered up, ratified and allowed the abuse to continue until she was arrested by police.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs also maintain the school district had an inadequate training program, while the district’s policies were deliberately indifferent to the rights of the students and caused them to be repeatedly abused.

All four women were originally arrested on charges ranging from five counts of child abuse/neglect and one count of conspiracy to commit a crime before the case began to unravel

Lepisto saw the case against her dismissed in August 2012. She now works for the district as principal at Tonopah’s middle and elementary schools.

Hopkins pleaded no contest to four misdemeanor counts of coercion in District Court, and returned to work within the district in late 2013.

Cummings saw the case against her dropped in 2011. DuShane pleaded guilty to a simple misdemeanor battery charge in December 2010; she was given 150 hours of community service.

The case against the four educators became public in October 2010, when former teacher’s aide Tammy Schoeck filed an incident report with the Nye County Sheriff’s Office after supposedly witnessing several alleged incidents of abuse between Hopkins and two of her students.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Lake Powell drops to lowest level in reservoir’s history

“This is a benchmark moment,” Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network, said Sunday. “And it’s not going to be the last one this summer.”

Buffalo Soldiers Day in Nevada celebrated for 3rd year

Nevada’s third Buffalo Soldiers Day was celebrated Saturday to honor the country’s all-Black military units.

Face mask backers urge Board of Regents to make them mandatory for all

Proponents of face masks on college campuses this fall on Friday urged the Nevada Board of Regents to go beyond a mandate for employees OK’d by the Clark County Commission.

Adam Sullivan confirmed as Nevada State Engineer

After serving as “acting” Nevada state engineer and administrator of the Nevada Division of Water Resources (NDWR) for the past seven months, Adam Sullivan has now been confirmed in those positions, with his official appointment reported in a press release issued Tuesday, July 20.

Pahrump Back to School Fair set for July 31

It is once again that time of year when parents and students must turn their thoughts to the coming school term and begin preparing for another nine months of academic endeavors. With the 2021-2022 school year set to begin on Tuesday, August 10 in Nye County, in an effort to help ensure that area families are ready to send their children back to the classroom, be it virtual or in person, the NyE Communities Coalition is now gearing up for its annual Back to School Fair.

Nye County opposing NASA land proposal

In Nevada, mining is a major industry, bringing in millions of dollars in taxes every year and employing thousands of workers in high-paying positions that help support the local economy but much of the mining operations in the Silver State rely on access to federally controlled lands.

Pahrump Lions take audiences on emotional journey with “Love Letters”

It was an emotional roller-coaster ride of a weekend for audiences at Sanders Family Winery, who were treated to two nights of theatrical entertainment from the Pahrump Valley Lions Club with the A.R. Gurney play “Love Letters”.

Suspect arrested after armed standoff

At least three Nye County Sheriff’s Office deputies are recovering from minor injuries after a tense standoff with an armed suspect.

Conversations with Nevada AG Ford continues

Some of the country’s most vulnerable populations are children and the elderly and it is just these populations that will be the subject of the next segment in a series of public outreach sessions from the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, which will continue its Conversations with AG Ford initiative this coming Wednesday.