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A school nurse and counselor forced an 8-year-old Texas boy to bathe after telling him he "smelled badly, was dirty and had bad hygiene," according to a lawsuit filed Thursday.
The boy was forced to take off his clothes one day in November and the two school officials "began violently washing his body," the parents said.
Amber and Michael Tilley filed the suit against the Peaster School District on Thursday in federal court in Fort Worth.
"It's terrible, and we don't want anything like that to happen to any other children," Amber Tilley said.
Peaster Independent School District Superintendent Matthew Adams did not return a phone call seeking comment. The district offices appeared to be closed on Friday.
The boy is referred to by the initials "P.T." in the lawsuit.
His parents also say school officials put cotton balls in their son's ears and left them there for the entire day.
"His body and his ears, they were really sore, real tender from being scrubbed," Amber Tilley said.
The lawsuit claims the boy was traumatized by what happened and has had to see therapists.
"He just kept on and on, wanting to take baths," his mother said. "You know, he just felt so disgusting."
The parents say nobody from the school ever contacted them about a hygiene problem.
"The first thing I said was, 'You ought to try to call us,'" Michael Tilley said. "And they said, 'We were trying to avoid him being embarrassed.' And I said, 'You all did a real good job of helping that process along.'"
His parents kept him out of school for a week.
"The first day he went back to school, he completely sprayed himself from head to toe and back up again with cologne," Amber Tilley said. "And it was choking me out, but I didn't say anything to him."
His parents say they believe he was clean before the incident and insist that, at age 8, he doesn't have a problem with body odor.
"It's never go two, three days without a bath -- never," the mother said.
The lawsuit seeks monetary damages and also asks that the district "cease all harassment and retaliation" against the boy.
The parents' attorney, Jason Bach, of Austin, said the case is unlike any he has tried.
"The thing that's unusual is that any school employee would take it upon themselves to do this to a child," Bach said. "As bizarre as that is, the injuries that this child has sustained are significant."
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