Yesterday I wrote about a Monroe County, Louisiana teacher duct-taping a six-year-old boy with special needs to his chair — unfortunately, here’s another report about teachers treating students with special needs inappropriately and even bullying them.
Last spring, an Ohio mother had her teenage daughter with special needs wear a wire to record abusive comments made to her by classroom staff in a resource room. Over a period of four days, aide Kelly Chaffins told the student that she was “dumb” and a “liar” and said “No wonder you don’t have any friends.” Chaffins also mocked the student’s physical appearance:
“Don’t you want to get rid of that belly?…Go for a walk. Do you know how to? You are just lazy and your family is lazy.”
Classroom teacher Christie Wilt, who had taught for seven years at Miami Trace Middle School in Washington Courthouse, Ohio, was also recorded “order[ing]” the student to walk on the treadmill. After 15 minutes, the treadmill broke; the student was then told to run in place, says Brian Garvine, a lawyer for the student’s family.
Last month, the Miami Trace Local School District was ordered to pay $300,000 to the mother of the student for the bullying by school staff. Chaffins resigned after the tapes came to light and Wilt, who is currently on maternity leave, has agreed to receive eight hours of training about bullying and recognizing child abuse. Miami Trace superintendent says that, as soon as evidence emerged about the abusive comments, the school district took action. But Garvine expressed dismay that Wilt is still employed:
Garvine said it was “shocking” that Wilt still had a job. “Chaffins is much worse, but Wilt participated,” he said. The lawyer for Wilt and Chaffins could not immediately be reached for comment.
Roberts acknowledged that Wilt had said “some inappropriate things” and had used the words “liar” and “fat” when speaking to the child. “In any context we cannot accept that.”
Students with special needs can often have difficulties communicating; due to such speech and communication challenges, people may (sadly) too often be in the habit of not believing what a child says.
Photo by michaeldorokhov
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