• Former Orting student said she was humiliated by teachers and students

    By: David Ham


    Dominique Seaman filed a lawsuit in Pierce County Superior Court against Orting Schools seeking $1 million in damages. She said that she was humiliated by teachers and students because of her height.

    When she attended Orting High School in 2010, she said she was humiliated because of her height.

    Seaman is 3'11" tall. She has Kniest Syndrome, a condition that causes dwarfism and skeletal abnormalities.

    At school she said there were several instances where students and teachers made fun of height.

    In one case, she said a doorknob was placed on her classroom door at ankle level.

    When she complained to her teacher about it, Seaman said her teacher brushed it off.

    "She said it's just a joke. Get over it, it's just a joke," said Seaman who is now 18 years old.

    She also recalled another instance where students and teachers performed a skit for an auction of baseball gear.

    She said the teachers and students made jokes about child-size athletic gear.

    "Horrified first of all, my peers start laughing and I’m like this isn't funny," said Seaman.

    Seaman left Orting High and was homeschooled. She graduated in the spring from Mount Si High School.

    Still, Seaman said she is haunted by what happened.

    "I get nightmares still and I get scared. And there are times were I can't deal with life because I get these nightmares," said Seaman.

    Her mother said she was disgusted by the school's response when she tried to complain about the problem.

    Deslie Seaman recalled a phone conversation with a special education teacher at the school.

    "On the phone he said, ‘Perhaps I shouldn’t say this, but don’t you think she needs to get used to being made fun of because she's so small?’" said Deslie Seaman.

    Orting Schools Superintendent Michelle Curry sent us a statement on the lawsuit:

    "When the incidents occurred four years ago, the district immediately addressed the families concerns and took quick action to correct the situation.

    Letters of apology were immediately written.

    Mandatory Equity & Diversity training was implemented.

    The District reached out and communicated directly with the student and her family. While the behavior was not directed at the student, it is unacceptable and has been addressed.

    We believed we resolved this issue four years ago when it first occurred. However, we understand the family’s right to pursue legal action and we have retained legal counsel as well to represent the district.

    Our goal is to resolve this issue and continue our focus on increasing student achievement for Orting students," said Curry.

    Seaman said she never received a letter of apology from her and the district never told her that teachers were retrained.  The district did send a letter to her father, but it never addressed her specifically.

    She still suffers from PTSD over her experiences at Orting High School.

    She said she is coping, and hopes this never happens to any other student.

    "I just want them to know. I don’t want them doing this to anyone, to another person who has differences especially special needs," said Seaman.

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