2 Ohio Teachers Placed on Leave for Dragging Student with Autism
Surveillance video shows the two teachers dragging the 7-year-old student, who has autism, to the school office after misbehaving on the playground.
Two Ohio kindergarten teachers who were seen on camera dragging a student with autism by the ankle will not be criminally charged but are facing disciplinary action from the school.
In May, Bonnie McKean received a call from her son’s school, Crestline Elementary, saying her 7-year-old son Corbin, who has autism, was “having a rough day and was hitting, kicking and biting his teachers,” says McKean.
Corbin was being carried to the school office by teacher Hannah Ruthe and teacher’s aide Heather Gregory, all of which was caught on security cameras throughout the school.
The video shows Corbin being carried into the school from outside while resisting. One teacher is seen holding his arms while the other holds his legs. He is also seen being dragged down a hallway by one leg at one point in the almost 5-minute video footage.
Crestline Superintendent Noreen Mullens says that teachers were put on administrative leave as soon as the incident occurred.
They are still on leave and were replaced in the classroom for the coming school year, reports The Herald Online.
McKean says she was not told about the teacher’s suspension until later in the week. It was then that she was shown the security footage and was notified that the Crestline Police Department was investigating the incident.
“To see my little boy carried and dragged from one end of the school to the front of the office by someone that is supposed to help him learn and protect him while he is at school — this was inexcusable,” says McKean.
McKean says the school was given guidelines on how to accommodate her son’s special needs such as ways to help calm him down.
McKean was especially upset because Gregory had worked with her son since he was in preschool, according to the Crawford Source.
“I was speechless. I wanted to hold him and cry. She knows him better than any other teacher in that school,” says McKean. “She knows he is prone to violent meltdowns, and she was one of the best at calming him down.”
The Crawford County Prosecutor’s Office has decided not to press felony charges. However, with permission from the grand jury on the case, Prosecutor Matt Crall sent a letter to the Ohio Board of Education recommending an investigation be conducted by the school.
The next step will be for the teachers to meet with their lawyers and the school district in a “pre-disciplinary hearing”.
“Resigning is a possibility,” says Mullens. “Usually it’s an absence from the classroom, whether it’s permanent or temporary.”
Mullens says if the women do return to teaching, they must go through counseling and extensive training.
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