The Gray-New Gloucester school district agreed to pay $50,000 to a woman who said a bus driver slapped her son in 2018.

Melissa Seavey filed her lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Maine in 2020. The parties reached a settlement last year, and the case was dismissed. School Administrative District 15 provided a copy of the agreement to the Portland Press Herald in response to a public records request.

Attorney Peter Clifford, who represented Seavey, said she did not have any comment on the resolution of the case.

“This was an emotional ordeal for her son and herself and she’s hoping to put it behind her,” he wrote in an email.

The settlement agreement did not admit any liability on the part of the district or individual officials named in the lawsuit.

“In our view, the incident that gave rise to this case was not caused by a lack of training of our personnel or a failure of District policies or supervision of its employees but rather was solely the result of the bad act of a single individual whose employment with the District was terminated as soon as we became aware of what he did,” Superintendent Craig King wrote in a statement.


Seavey’s son was 18 at the time. He has autism and is nonverbal. At the time of the alleged assault, he was living in a group home in Gray and attending a special needs school in Saco. In August 2018, an aide saw bus driver Raymond Files slap the teenager when he did not buckle his seat belt as instructed. The encounter was captured on a security camera, and Seavey described the event to the Press Herald. In the complaint, she said her son was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after the incident.

Files lost his job with the district and pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault in March 2019. That meant he was convicted but never admitted guilt, and he paid a $1,000 fine. The lawsuit also named Files as a defendant, and the agreement releases him from the claims against him. Attorney Beth Stouder, who represented him in the lawsuit, said she did not feel she could discuss the case.

Files previously said the district did not properly train him to work with special needs students.

Asked whether the district made any changes to training as a result of this incident, the superintendent said, “With regard to your question about training, although we always strive to improve, we believe that personnel in our District have in the past and will continue to receive appropriate training on how to deal with all students, including students with special needs.”

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