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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Schools sued over alleged poisoning

A student’s headache has escalated into a lawsuit against Spokane Public Schools over an alleged methadone poisoning.

Attorney George Guinn is suing the district as well as the parents of a middle school girl. The lawsuit alleges Garry Middle School student Keona Crossley had a headache and took what she thought was an aspirin from a friend. The pill turned out to be methadone, which made Crossley dizzy and disoriented, according to the lawsuit. Methadone is a synthetic narcotic and is best known for its use in treating heroin and morphine addiction.

Crossley went to the school office but was not allowed to call her mother, according to the lawsuit. Assistant Principal Charlene Malotta eventually told the student to go home, the lawsuit says. As she was leaving, Crossley collapsed in front of a teacher and then was allowed to call her mother from the school office, according to the lawsuit.

The girl’s family took her to Sacred Heart Medical Center, and she was diagnosed with methadone poisoning, according to the lawsuit.

“No medical treatment was offered or provided by school officials,” the lawsuit states.

The lawyer defending the school district against the lawsuit could not be reached for comment.

The lawsuit claims the district was negligent for failing to pursue rumors that a girl had been passing methadone to students and for failing to give Crossley first aid.

The suit seeks to recover medical costs and damages, including suffering and emotional distress. No amount is specified.

Before the lawsuit was filed, Guinn sent a letter to Spokane Public Schools that said Crossley and her mother, La Tonia Anderson, have suffered damages in the amount of $150,000.

“Keona may have suffered permanent physical harm relating to the ingestion of this medication,” Guinn wrote.

The suit does not say what it is seeking from the other girl’s parents.

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