North Idaho School District Sued over Face Paint Removal

August 13, 2007

A north Idaho school district is being sued by the parents of two junior high school students who say their children were burned when their face paint was removed after they waited too long to do it themselves.

Georgeanne Griffith, principal of Timberlake Junior High, used rubbing alcohol, industrial cleaner, fingernail polish remover and an unknown ointment to wipe paint off the faces of Sara DeHart and Lauren Essman, according to documents filed Aug. 3 in state District Court.

Both girls’ faces were burned and Essman also experienced swelling, abrasions, and peeling, according to the lawsuit filed against the Lakeland School District.

They painted their faces for spirit week but failed to remove the paint after Griffith ordered all students to do so, so the principal took them to the office and removed the paint without contacting either of the students’ parents, according to the lawsuit.

The girls’ mothers, Susan DeHart and Lisa Essman, are seeking at least $50,000 plus attorney fees.

Assistant School Superintendent Ron Schmidt would not comment.

“It’s been turned over to our insurance company and legal counsel. That’s about all I can say,” Schmidt said.

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