A teacher was dismissed from her position recently after forcibly dragging a special needs student up the stairs and through the hallways of his middle school. According to the teacher, the child refused to “get up” off the gym floor and was in the way of other children who wanted to play.
Jo Grayson, a resident of Lexington, Kentucky, and the mother of a nonverbal autistic boy named Thatcher, was horrified and enraged when her son returned home from school one day covered in bruising, cuts, and scratches.
According to CNN, Thatcher’s teacher sent his mother a text message that said, “the nurse and I had to physically help him get up off the gym floor. He wouldn’t move and other kids were trying to play. I apologize if he has marks on him.”
Grayson thanked the teacher for reaching out to contact her and telling her about what happened, even though she thought the behavior was odd for her son, regardless of his autism. The text message did not lead Thatcher’s mother to worry, as the teacher did not imply that her son was harmed or in any mental distress.
Later, the mother learned there was quite a bit left out of the teacher’s report regarding what had happened that day. While the teacher did apologize for any visible markings on the child, she was unclear on the number of cuts and bruises found all over the sixth grader’s body. The mother discovered the excessive markings when she was getting her son ready for bed.
“We were getting ready for bed, and when I pulled his shirt off, I saw cuts and bruises on his body. That didn’t look like marks of someone helping him get up,” Grayson explained.
Being that her son is nonverbal, he was unable to tell his mother what happened to him at school that day. Enraged and wanting to know where all of the markings came from, Thatcher’s mother went to the school the next morning to meet with the administration. With the help of her family lawyer, Thatcher’s mother was able to put in an “open records request” requiring the school to give her access to the surveillance cameras in the hallways.
When Grayson watched the video, she was horrified by what she saw. The one thing every parent worries about – especially the parent of a child who is unable to speak – was caught on camera, happening to her son.
On the video, which can be viewed at the top of the article, Thatcher can be seen screaming as his teacher and the school nurse forcibly pull him off the floor and drag him and his service dog up the stairs and through the halls of the school.
The video shows the child being pulled and shoved through the halls against his will. His service dog being dragged along with him. The video lasts for several minutes with no one stepping in to help or intervene.
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Grayson confirmed in an interview with CNN that she did intend to press charges against the parties involved and had already filed a report with the local D.A. At this time, no arrest warrants have been issued.
Fayette County Public Schools spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall released an official statement regarding the incident in question and made it clear that the administrators were not in support of the actions taken in the video footage.
“There is absolutely no tolerance for the conduct of the employee in this incident, and while we cannot discuss specifics, we do want to reassure our families that we take any situations of this nature very seriously.”
The nurse seen in the video was placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. The teacher was released from her position and is no longer employed by the school district.