A surveillance video showing two teachers dragging a blind 6-year-old by his legs has now gone viral, inspiring widespread outrage from viewers — and now the New Mexico school district.
In the video, one of the Santa Fe teachers can be clearly seen grabbing the boy by his ankles and dragging him down a hallway on his back.
A second special needs teacher is then seen taking the boy’s other leg while a third teacher watches and does nothing to intervene.
The Huffington Postreports that the teacher primarily responsible for the incident has been placed on administrative leave from the Gonzales Community School.
According to local police, the teacher’s explanation for employing such draconian tactics was that the boy refused to obey her instruction to move to another classroom when asked to.
Sgt. Andrea Dobyns of the Santa Fe Police Department toldKOB Eyewitness News:
“We don’t believe the teacher was intentionally trying to hurt the child, but our problem is the blatant neglect for his safety.”
The Sante Fe New Mexican newspaper reports that, after the altercation, the little boy complained of head pain.
The paper also reports that both teachers who actively manhandled the child are now facing child abuse charges. In addition, witnesses who stood by without attempting to intervene may face misdemeanor charges for failing to report the incident.
The video has been met with widespread outrage from the Santa Fe community and elsewhere.
The scale of abuse in schools — and in particular, those involving special needs students — was spelled out in a federal report published in March this year.
It was revealed that schools physically restrained students 39,000 times during the 2009-2010 school year, and 70 percent of those involved special needs students.
Only 17 US states specifically limit the use of physical measures against students.
The fate of the Sante De teachers — and the bystanders — is pending a full investigation by police and Gonzales Community School who are said to be co-operating.