Tuesday, September 23, 2008

NEW DETAILS: Prior allegations for teacher in special needs abuse case

By Melissa Cabral, WINK News

Story Created: Sep 23, 2008 at 6:21 PM EDT

Story Updated: Sep 23, 2008 at 7:07 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla. - New details in a story we broke Exclusively on WINK News about allegations of abuse at a Lee County Elementary School.

We're learning this isn't the first time one of the teachers involved is being accused of abusing special needs children.

Cape Coral Police confirm one of the teachers accused of lying on top of a five year old autistic student is Catherine Hile. Hile was recently under investigation by the state for allegedly punching a student in Charlotte County.

WINK News digs into Catherine Hile's personnel file and uncovers several previous allegations.

Back in 2005, witnesses claim to see Hile tie a special needs student to a chair, putting hand sanitizer in a students mouth to get them to stop yelling, and punching a special needs student several times while teaching at Charlotte Harbor School in Port Charlotte.

The claim of punching a student prompted the Florida Department of Education to investigate.

The two sides recently settled and as part of the deal Hile is not admitting or denying she punched a student. She agreed to undergo counseling and will keep her job as a teacher at Gulf Elementary in Lee County.

There are now new allegations Hile and a behavioral specialist were allegedly found lying on top of 5-year-old Jazzmyn Haycook as a way to restrain her.

Board Member Bob Chilmonik says he's concerned about our Exclusive report, "The way I see this right now is a training problem with our teachers. we need to train them properly."

The district maintains the instructors accused of lying on Jazzmyn are trained to restrain special needs children and acted appropriately.

WINK News left messages for Hile but our calls have not been returned.

In her personnel file, she denies the allegations of abuse in Charlotte County Schools.

Hile was also recognized as a finalist for the Lee County Golden Apple.

Related News: http://tcfpbis.blogspot.com/2008/09/florida-exclusive-alleged-abuse-on.html

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