An elementary school teacher in Arcadia, Florida, who was identified as 33-year-old Carol Pauls, of Port Charlotte, was arrested on aggravated child abuse charges after she reportedly shoved two paper towels down a special needs students’ throat, according to the NBC 2 News.
On November 28 of this year, DeSoto County police officers stated that Pauls, who teaches third-graders with special needs at Nocatee Elementary School, was dealing with one of her special needs students after the child was having behavioral issues in the classroom.
The child, who was identified as Tyler Muryzn, began to spit as Pauls was attempting to calm him down. She then grabbed a paper towel and wiped the spit from the child’s face.
Muryzn’s mother, Sandra, said: “They were trying to quiet him down. He was being a little rowdy. He was choking and gagging and coughing and crying the whole time and everything and he was really upset.”
Two teaching assistants – whose names have not been released to the public – who were in the classroom stated that Pauls suddenly began to scream while saying “he bit me.”
As the teacher assistants turned around to see what happened, all they saw was the child with a paper towel shoved down his throat.
One of the assistants reportedly removed the paper towel from the student’s mouth and he began to scream again. It was reported that Pauls became irritated and said, “Fine, choke on it” before shoving another paper towel down the student’s throat.
Pauls denies the allegations, claiming that when the student bit her, he bit a piece of the paper towel that she was holding in her hands. The elementary school teacher did admit to telling her student to choke on the paper towel after becoming frustrated with his behavioral issues.
Parents whose children attend Nocatee Elementary School were outraged after learning about one of the teachers being accused of shoving a paper towel down a special needs students‘ throat.
Sissy Cross told reporters that the incident was crazy and “you shouldn’t have people working in the school, especially with children.”
“How do you send your child knowing they’re going to be safe? You have to worry about other kids bringing guns and knives, and now you have to worry about teachers.”
Else Whitaker, who happens to know the teacher personally, was taken back by the allegations, saying “the incident was out of her character.”
Whitaker went on to say that “she has a good standing with other students. I’ve never had a problem with her. I’m even shocked that this would even happen, especially with her.”
Local reporters spoke with Pauls’ neighbors in Port Charlotte and they were all stunned after learning about the incident. Uwe Lehmann said: “Of course it’s concerning. No child should have this down to them.”
Several social media users were shocked after learning what happened but the majority defended the teacher, saying “not excusing her, but special needs children can try your patience.”
Another social media user posted: “I read the article and honestly, I don’t think this woman should have been arrested. She did not physically harm the child. I have heard parents say worse things to their own children. This kid’s mom needs to take responsibility for raising such a cry baby who had to be calmed down by multiple teachers just because she told him to ‘just choke on it then’ when he wouldn’t give her napkins that he himself put in his mouth. My goodness!”
It was not immediately made clear what evidence was gathered after DeSoto police officials conducted an investigation, but on Thursday afternoon, Pauls was arrested at Nocatee Elementary School on aggravated child abuse charges.
The Arcadia teacher was later suspended from working at the school.
[Featured Image by Baona/iStock]