Durham family says Ebola fear led to son's ban from school

ByTamara Gibbs via WTVD logo
Friday, November 14, 2014
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A hearing before Judge Orlando Hudson in Durham Friday.

DURHAM, N.C. -- The fear of Ebola was the focus of a civil court hearing in Durham County Friday.

The parents of a basketball player at Mount Zion Christian Academy in Durham took legal action against the private school after they claim it barred their 16-year-old son from attending class upon his father's return from Nigeria.

The parents of Samuel Ubezonu asked the judge for a temporary restraining order, allowing the teen to return to school. According to court documents, the teen has not traveled outside the U.S. in two years. His father visited Nigeria on Oct. 4 and returned on Oct. 27.

Ubezonu's parents say they received a letter from the school, advising them that their son would need to complete his coursework at home for 21 days. School administrators also told them their son would be banned from campus during this period.

"There's misinformation that's been disseminated about Ebola," their attorney said during a court hearing on Friday. "Nigeria is a country that is Ebola free."

The teenager's parents accused the school of breach of contract and discrimination. Court records show they're considering a defamation lawsuit, saying their son's lengthy absence has given other students and staff the false impression that he has Ebola.

According to the plaintiff's attorney, the school said it would allow the teen to return to school on Tuesday. His parents wanted the judge to allow him to return immediately. Judge Orlando Hudson agreed Friday, issuing the order.

A representative for the Mount Zion Christian Academy did not participate in the court hearing.