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Web update: Girl loses appeal in federal suit claiming mistreatment by Willmar teacher

WILLMAR -- A federal appeals court has said a child and her mother did not have standing to sue the Willmar School District over alleged mistreatment by a special education teacher.

Because Jackie Nelson filed a claim after she had transferred her child to another district, she no longer had a valid claim against the Willmar district, according to an opinion issued Thursday by the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals.

In following previous federal cases, the court ruled that the claim against the school district under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act must have been filed before the child was transferred.

Nelson had alleged excessive use of a seclusion room and restraining holds by teacher Lisa Van Der Heiden at Lincoln Elementary School. She also alleged that school officials knew about the alleged abuse and did nothing to stop it.

Van Der Heiden, through her attorneys, has consistently denied that any abuse took place and has said she was following the recommendations of the child's individualized education program.

Read more about this story Friday in the West Central Tribune.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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