Family of Deceased Special Ed Teacher Files $20 Million Federal Lawsuit Against Dallas Independent School District

Attorneys representing the family of Sharla Sims call for full investigation following an unprovoked violent student attack that led to Sims’ death

We have reason to believe that the student who attacked and caused Sims’ death remains in the classroom amongst other students, faculty and staff.”

— Attorney B’Ivory LaMarr

DALLAS, TX, USA, January 5, 2023 / — A Dallas special education teaching assistant died three days after suffering a violent attack by a special needs student on January 8, 2021. Her family has now filed a federal lawsuit (Case no. 3:23-cv-00010-N) alleging the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) violated Sims’ civil rights and placed her in harm’s way.

Sharla Sims, 56, worked as a special education teaching assistant for DISD at H. Grady Spruce High School during the 2020-2021 school year. On January 8, 2021, Sims was working with special needs students with behavioral and learning disabilities. One of the students who had a documented history of physical aggression attacked Sims unprovoked.

Sims sought medical attention as she experienced intense pain in her abdomen following the attack. She was hospitalized and later died on January 11, 2021, after she succumbed to her injuries.

The student had at least four documented incidents of physical aggression prior to Sims’ attack. Two of the prior attacks were targeted towards Sims. Despite the student’s known history of aggression, DISD officials left the student in the classroom with Sims without additional safety measures.

“The actions of the Admissions, Review and Dismissal [ARD] Committee were much more than a simple failure to perceive a risk to students and teachers. The Committee had actual knowledge of the student’s violent physical attacks of Ms. Sims and chose to do nothing,” said Attorney B’Ivory LaMarr, Co-counsel for the Sims family. He added, “This lawsuit represents the horrendous disregard of the civil rights of Sharla Sims by the School District, and it is our hope that this will serve as a catalyst for change so that no other family will have to suffer the way this family is suffering.”

“The ARD Committee of DISD knowingly disregarded the excessive risk to Ms. Sims, who was in a position of danger teaching a very large male student who had physically assaulted her on at least two previous occasions, in a one-on-one setting in close proximity,” said Kirk Claunch, Co-counsel for the Sim’s family.

Attorneys for Sharla Sims’ family are calling for a full investigation of the Dallas Independent School District for what is believed to be a cover-up surrounding Sharla Sims’ death.

According to Sims’ family and their legal counsel, the family was never notified that an attack had occurred, and the inaction of DISD ultimately resulted in the death of Sharla Sims.

“There should be assurances provided to the community and to the city of Dallas, that something like this will not happen again,” said Attorney LaMarr. To that end, the family and their attorneys have reason to believe that due to the alleged cover-up the student who attacked and caused Sims’ death remains in the classroom amongst other students, faculty and staff.

Tanya Wiley
WCP Consulting & Communications
+1 336-345-2628
[email protected]

Article originally published at

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