A parent is suing Prosper Independent School District for negligence after an elementary school teacher physically assaulted her 5-year-old child—behavior the lawsuit alleges “appears to be part of a larger pattern.”

The child’s mother is also suing the teacher, Peggy May, for offensive physical contact.

The incident occurred at Rucker Elementary on March 23, 2023.

According to the complaint, filed this week in a state district court in Collin County,

While attempting to discipline the Student, she [May] intentionally stepped on his leg as he tried to crawl away from her. She also grabbed the Student by his ankles and dragged him across the floor while he was sitting. The Student suffered visible, documented injuries because of Defendant May’s actions. No one intervened to protect the Student.


The Student’s mother was not made aware of the incident until after 6:00 p.m. the day it happened when she was contacted by an officer with the Prosper ISD Police Department.

The lawsuit states that the student “suffered both physical injuries and mental anguish damages that continue to impact him today,” and that his mother “also suffered emotional distress because of what her son has endured.”

The family is seeking compensatory damages.

Janelle Davis, a parental rights attorney who is representing the family, alleges in the lawsuit that May’s behavior “appears to be part of a larger pattern of students being abused and staff failing to intervene at Rucker Elementary.”

Rucker is the elementary school where bus driver Frank Paniagua allegedly molested two young students for most of the 2021-22 school year, often while his bus was on campus property in view of staff. Paniagua was arrested in May 2022, but Rucker parents learned about the sex abuse allegations months later when the victims’ family sued the district.

The new lawsuit notes that none of the administrative staff at Rucker Elementary or within Prosper ISD has been disciplined or fired for their failure to protect students from sexual abuse.

Davis also alleges that during the past two school years, other children attending Rucker Elementary have been abused and/or injured due to the neglectful supervision of school staff.

“This lack of accountability is pervasive in PISD and created an environment where [this child] was hurt,” reads the complaint.

Davis argues that the defendants’ actions “fall within the exception to sovereign immunity that typically protects improper behavior of Texas public school districts and their employees.”

Under the Texas education code, a school district employee is not personally liable for any act that is incident to or within the scope of the employee’s duties, “except in circumstances in which a professional employee uses excessive force in the discipline of students or negligence resulting in bodily injury to students.”

Davis also argues that the defendants should not be able to dismiss the family’s complaint for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

Plaintiffs allege that (i) exhaustion would be futile; (ii) Plaintiffs’ claims do not involve questions of fact (i.e., there is no question that Defendant May’s conduct towards the student occurred); and (iii) the [Texas Education] Commissioner does not have the authority to provide Plaintiffs with adequate relief. Therefore, exhaustion is not required in this instance.

Following the incident, the Texas Education Agency investigated May, and she received a reprimand from the State Board for Educator Certification in October 2023. A reprimand represents a “formal, published censure” but does not affect the validity of an educator’s certificate.

May’s teaching certificate is still valid.

Prosper ISD has not responded to a request for comment.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.