Sunday, October 11, 2009

SC: Allegations of Abuse of Special Needs Student at Edisto High School

Allegations of Teacher Abuse

From ABC Columbia:

Allegations that a teacher abused two special needs children at Edisto High School have parents angry, and the Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office investigating. The teacher has been suspended without pay. One incident involves a parent accusing a teacher of assaulting her child. Another involves a plastic bag being placed on or near a child's head.

Only three teacher's aides and a teacher know exactly what happened inside a classroom at Edisto High School. The first incident occurred on August 26th. According to an incident report, the school's principal says a special needs student was hitting teachers and students. The report says 61 year old teacher Paul Jensen was guiding the student away when the student fell. Orangeburg School District Four did an investigation and found no intentional wrong doing on Jensen's part. However, the district did put him on paid leave and offered him an improvement plan on how to better handle problems with students.

Parent Cindy Strock says her son only hit Jensen after the teacher grabbed him. She says, “The incident is being belittled. It was a very serious accident with my child. I am very disappointed in the district's response.”

Fast forward to October 1, Superintendent Dr. Thomas Sparks says teachers aides confirm that a plastic bag was near the face of another special needs student. He says it's unclear if Jensen placed the bag there, but the Superintendent says the teacher exercised bad judgment.

The victim's father, David Smith says his son could have suffocated and that he will not be returning to Edisto High School.

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