A Washington State principal named Ashlie Short, who is currently employed by Kent School District, is on a paid administrative leave after allegations surfaced that she intentionally locked a young autistic student out of the elementary school.
It was several family members of 11-year-old JaMar Taylor, who has a diagnosis of autism, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, that took these allegations to a school board meeting on January 9.
According to USA Today, the family revealed their son – who was currently part of the special needs program at Springbrook Elementary School in Kent, Washington – had been signed out by an administrator of the school before being purposely locked outside with no one supervising him.
“The principal announced over the intercom for staff and students to not let him in the building, even if he knocked. I have reviewed the video footage myself from that day, and my grandson was indeed locked outside without any supervision. He walked around the building and tried to open several doors, but all the doors were locked,” the young boy’s grandparent, Lovine Montgomery, revealed during the school board meeting.
JaMar’s mother, JaVohn Perry, reveals school officials who recalled the incident on December 14 told her that her son was cursing at and pushing the principal prior to being placed outside. Perry, however, claims her son tells a different story about what happened that day and she does not believe in her heart that locking him outside, without any supervision, was the best solution to the situation.
“I felt like she put my son in danger.”
After watching the video footage of the incident, which has been obtained and published by KIRO 7, Perry admits that the footage broke her heart.
Perry explains the video footage reveals a school janitor locking the boy outside, his one-on-one teacher closing the blinds, and several staff members laughing as they put her son in danger.
Seattle Boy With Autism Purposefully Locked Out of School By Principal. An 11-year-old student with autism was locked out of his school by principal Ashli Short at Springbrook Elementary in Kent, Washington, for attempting to use the bathroom. https://t.co/SuTGYYTcrQ
— Karl Valentine (@BluesManStew) January 27, 2019
JaVohn estimates that they left her son outside for roughly 10 minutes before a friend could be seen letting him back into the school.
For the time being, she’s made the decision to pull her son from the school and he’s currently being tutored at home.
According to Perry, her son is a “funny child” and a talented writer that has a book selling on Amazon as well as pieces published in an autism parenting magazine. Perry also explained that her son is high-functioning and prefers to interact with adults.
JaMar’s mother is hopeful the school will use the incident to bring more trained professionals in to prevent something like this from happening again.
— Australian Disability Limited (@ausdisltd) January 27, 2019
According to a statement the Kent School District sent to USA Today, the principal was placed on administrative leave a week later, on January 18, while they conduct an investigation. The statement, however, clarified it was a paid leave and was not to be viewed as disciplinary at this time.
“Our shared focus remains on our core business of teaching and learning, with an emphasis on learning. As the process continues, we are still not able to share any details about the investigation, related complaint or personnel matters and will not comment further as this is a personnel issue and an active investigation,” the statement from the school district explains.