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News 8 Investigates: Legal issues could continue for principal, school district

Principal may resign, school district be

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Wis. (WKBT) - An area principal accused of misconduct may be resigning. The Telegraph Herald said the Prairie Du Chien School District board is expected to talk about issues involving Principal Aaron Amundson and his "possible resignation." 

When News 8 asked the district superintendent about the issue, he confirmed there will be a board meeting next week but could not comment further. In an email, Superintendent Bob Smudde said, "I cannot comment at this time about any type of resignation, as there has been no official action."

Even if he were to resign, legal issues will not be over for Amundson and the school district.

The Department of Public Instruction filed a notice that it may revoke Amundson's teaching license. He is currently principal of Bluff View Intermediate School in Prairie du Chien. Amundson's attorney responded to those claims made by the state agency by denying wrongdoing and calling for some counts to be dismissed. 

News 8 obtained the court documents that show the school district is being sued for $50,000 stemming from a child abuse case involving a student at the school last year. Amundson was found not guilty in that criminal case, but the family is pursuing a civil case against the district. 

Last year, Aaron Amundson was charged with one count of child abuse for an incident involving a student. 

The principal was accused of spraying a chemical and using a scouring pad to remove writing on a child's hand. The 14-year-old was later taken to an emergency room for a possible chemical burn. 

In August, Amundson was found not guilty by a jury. 

But News 8 has learned the father and his child are suing the school district and two other parties for damages. One of the parties, EMC Property and Casualty Company, has provided liability insurance coverage to the district and/or its employees. The other party named in the suit, Group Health Cooperative of Eau Claire, made conditional payments on behalf of the child for injuries sustained in the incident.

In the complaint, an attorney for the family alleges that as a result of negligence by the district and or its employees, the child suffered a serious injury that may be permanent. 

A separate document in the court file shows the child's health care expenses from the incident total almost $700,000. Because of past and future pain, disfigurement, continuing medical care, wage loss and loss of companionship for his parents, the family is seeking $50,000. 

In response, the school district has denied allegations of negligence by the district and or its employees. The defense also claims the district and its insurer are immune from a lawsuit under state statute.

But the matter will move forward through the La Crosse County Court system. During a February pretrial conference, a judge determined the matter could go to trial. 

Attorneys for the plaintiff and defense will have to submit the names of their expert witnesses and summaries of their testimony by certain deadlines. A trial date could be set in November.

However, the attorney representing the family said they are unsure if the case will be settled out of court or if it will continue to a trial. According to court documents, all parties would have to come to an agreement by Nov 1, 2019.

Multiple phone calls, voicemails and emails sent to Prairie Du Chien School District board members were not returned. Some of the board members declined to comment. 

News 8 did speak with Amundson on Friday and asked him about his possible resignation. He declined to comment. 

A conference call will take place at the end of the month to set a hearing date for the possible license revocation by the DPI. 

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