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The Apple Montessori School in Hoboken - which charges annual fees of $28,000 per student - faces multiple lawsuits by parents over its treatment of students following the release of viral videos appearing to show school workers engaging in rough treatment of toddlers. Both lawsuits have been filed by parents on behalf of children at the school in the New Jersey state Superior Court in Jersey City. 

Video shot from a high-rise building overlooking the school and posted to social media in May 2015 appeared to show a school aide forcing a 23-month old child to the ground during an outside play time in order to put a hat on the child and then repeatedly trying to lift the child before leaving the child on the ground. In a separate video, a teacher allegedly drags a toddler on the ground by the child's feet. The director and assistant director of the Hoboken school reportedly first became aware of the videos on June 4, but did not make the owners of the school - who in total run 17 schools throughout New Jersey - aware of the videos until June 10. In the aftermath of the incident, five employees of the Hoboken school were terminated, including the teacher and aide who committed the aforementioned acts, and the director and assistant director who watched the video but did not immediately report it.

The lawsuits filed by parents of children at the schools allege that the school is liable for negligence, breach of contract, and assault. The names of the parents filing the complaints against the school have reportedly been withheld to protect the identity of their children. While the school has changed its safety measures since the incidents, which includes additional security cameras that can be monitored by parents online during school hours, the court will be looking at the policies and procedures in place at the time of the incidents and their immediate aftermath in determining the merits of the claims contained in the lawsuits.

Schools, including preschools like the Hoboken school here, have a special duty to protect the interests and well-being of the children entrusted to that school's care by their parents. Bringing a successful claim will generally involve an investigation of the school's policies and procedures to determine whether they were sufficient to protect children at the school as well as an investigation of how those policies and procedures are enforced by the administration of the school with regard to the specific situation or situations at issue as well as on a systemic level.

If your child has suffered negligence or abuse in a New Jersey school or day care, contact the Morristown attorneys at Smith & Doran today to discuss your case, at 973-292-0016.

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