CINCINNATI (FOX19) - A Lebanon parent is describing an incident involving his special needs daughter at a Warren County school as an ‘assault on a child.’
Jeremy Stewart says he had his 14-year old daughter enrolled at the Warren County Educational Service Center at the Western Row School in Mason for about 5 months.
However, he and his wife recently withdrew her after an incident that happened during recess on March 25.
Stewart provided FOX19 with school video surveillance of the incident obtained through Mason PD.
In the video, you can see his daughter in a blue dress with prints, an aide wearing a grey sweater, and a teacher wearing a red sweater.
He says his daughter is special needs and sometimes experiences anxiety in times of transition.
”She’s having a behavioral problem. And a couple of minutes into the video, you can see the teacher storm up to the top and take her belongings and throw them across the playground,” says Stewart.
He says the situation should have been handled differently, saying that the staff is directed to follow ‘hands-off’ procedures in these situations.
Stewart claims his daughter’s teacher snatched her belongings and physically pushed her to the slide before forcing her to sit.
Superintendent Tom Isaacs says the abuse Stewart is claiming is false, and it’s been investigated by their office, Mason PD, and the Warren County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
“In all three cases, three times, this incident has been shown to show zero abuse, or damage, or any hurtfulness to this particular student,” said Isaacs.
Isaacs says a storm was coming, and school staff was acting to bring Stewart’s daughter safely inside the school.
”If you watch the video. I don’t think the teacher pushed the child. I think she’s pulling her off the slide.“
The superintendent says he believes the staff recognized the danger of the approaching thunderstorm and “did everything possible to get her to come into the building.”
”I see assault. I see assault on a child from a teacher. I understand I’m her father, and I have a bit of a bias there, but if I were that teacher and she were a child on a playground somewhere. If I did that, I would be arrested,” implores Stewart.
He says what happened to his daughter is disorderly conduct and that he and his wife will not accept what was done was in her best interest.
Superintendent Tom Isaacs official statement:
Allegations of student abuse by employees of Warren County Educational Service Center at the Western Row School are untrue. The ESC takes all allegations of student abuse seriously and promptly acts when abuse has occurred. In this case, these allegations were thoroughly investigated by outside parties and dismissed by the Mason Police Department and Warren County Board of Developmental Delays.
Citizens are rightly bothered and concerned by approximately 15 seconds of video from an event that lasted over one hour. However, the video must be understood in context. In this case, a student was on a slide about six feet off the ground. School staff patiently attempted to encourage the student to come down, but she ignored their requests to do so. A thunderstorm was approaching, and the teacher became worried that leaving a student on a slide in a thunderstorm was unsafe. In about fifteen seconds, the teacher removed items that are routinely carried by the student. This strategy of taking items such as this from a child as motivation is approved and used by schools and parents all the time.
During the course of the investigation, it was learned that the teacher felt she needed to move quickly because she wanted the student inside the school building for the student’s safety. In that mindset, the teacher abruptly threw the items off the slide because she wanted both of her hands open to protect and help the child. Citizens may better understand this situation by reading the parent’s comments posted on Facebook and YouTube. Although the teacher was correct to take these items away from the student as a means of motivation to come off the slide, in hindsight, she knows she should have had another staff member come up the slide to hold these items. As a result of this unfortunate incident, the teacher has been given instructions of other ways to handle situations like this. The teacher has also apologized for her actions to the student’s parents. The student was not harmed in any way. School employees sometimes make fast decisions to protect student safety and these decisions can sometimes be improved, as is the case with this situation.
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