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Boy, 9, with autism thrown across room by worker at Portland school, lawsuit says

The boy's mother filed the lawsuit after watching video of the September 2021 incident at Four Creeks School in Portland.

A third-grade student with autism was thrown across a room by a school worker in Oregon after he tried to open a locked door, the student's mother alleges in a lawsuit.

Tiria Jones filed the lawsuit March 14 against the Multnomah Education Service District in Portland after she saw video footage of the September 2021 incident.

Jones said the unnamed worker inflicted illegal corporal punishment on her 9-year-old son, according to The Oregonian, which obtained a copy of the lawsuit.

NBC News has not viewed the suit and could not immediately reach her attorneys at the Oregon Law Center.

Jones said in the suit that her son was a new student at Four Creeks School in Portland. She said the district initially told her that her son had been placed in restraints on the day of the incident and removed from class because he climbed on top of a bookshelf and kicked and spat on staff, the newspaper reported.

Jones, however, said surveillance footage she viewed painted a different picture.

According to the newspaper, Jones said a school worker was seen in the video grabbing her son after he tried to open a locked door and ripped paper off the door. The worker hauled the child down the hall and pushed him into a seclusion room, the suit alleges, but the child stuck his foot in the door preventing the door from closing.

The worker then picked the child up and allegedly threw him across the room. Jones said in the lawsuit that her son had bruises on his legs.

"I do not want any family to go through what we have gone through," Jones said in a statement to The Oregonian. "The district needs to understand the harm this caused and make changes to keep all students safe from abuse in the future."

Laura Conroy, a spokesperson for the Multnomah Education Service District, told NBC News in a statement Friday that the allegations in the lawsuit are "deeply concerning."

Conroy said she could not comment directly on what happened, but said the school has students who "have experienced multiple life traumas including abuse, parental abandonment, death of a family member, witnessing violence in the home, drugs in the home, housing and food instability and violence. "

"As a result of the trauma they’ve experienced, the children express their emotions through behaviors that can cause harm to themselves, other students and staff.  MESD staff are trained in safety protocols to keep students and staff safe when behavior escalates and endangers the student, other students, and staff. Protocols include the use of verbal cues, holds and seclusion rooms to deescalate the child, or to keep the child and others safe until the child is able to deescalate."

Conroy did not respond to questions about the worker, including their position and if any disciplinary action was taken, due to privacy reasons.

Jones is seeking damages of $700,000.