Report raises questions in death of mentally retarded student

Report raises questions in death of mentally retarded student

Credit: 13Newsfile

Kimberly McCoy died two years ago.

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WVEC.com

Posted on October 8, 2002 at 12:00 AM

Updated Friday, Oct 30 at 3:04 PM

Two years ago, Kimberly McCoy, a 17-year-old special needs student, died on the second day of school.

Tuesday, a report obtained by 13News suggests the group home in Portsmouth where she stayed should have given her school specific instructions on how to deal with her behavioral problems.

McCoy attended Portsmouth's SECEP school.

In 2000, she acted violently and had to be restrained by school workers.

She later died from heart problems that the medical examiner says were triggered by the stress of being restrained.

Now, a report from Virginia's Department of Health and Human Services says Kimberly's home, Holiday House, should have told the school that restraining her the manner the school did was not the same method sanctioned by her own group home.

The report does not suggest that information would have made a difference in saving Kimberly's life. It does, however, question why a group home for severely retarded and emotionally disturbed children doesn't coordinate restraining methods with schools.

In response, Holiday House says its staffers did communicate with the school about Kimberly's problems but added it's unrealistic to get every SECEP school to adopt a specific group home's individual policies.

There is still a wrongful death lawsuit pending.

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