Monday, November 9, 2009

SC: Teacher’s aide arrested for assaulting an autistic student


A North Charleston teacher’s aide is facing charges after an assault last month at A.C. Cochran Elementary School. {Note: the school is actually A.C. Corcoran Elementary School}

According to the police report a teacher saw 60-year-old Irene Andrews holding a four-year-old autistic student by his bare feet, hitting his feet with a ruler. The teacher told police that when the suspect saw the other teacher, she told her “you didn’t see anything.“

The police report also says the principal notified officers that the Andrews had been disciplined before, for putting a student in the bathroom as punishment.

The Charleston County School District responding to this information today with the following statement:

Let us be clear on our policy—we forbid any kind of corporal punishment in our schools, and work very closely with law enforcement and local agencies to identify and prevent wrongdoing. We have been very deliberate about this in terms of training, partnerships, policy, and awareness-building.

In the case of this teacher’s assistant, we acted swiftly to investigate the allegation that she struck a student on the bottom of the feet with a ruler. We took the child to the nurse, who found no injury. The principal immediately contacted her supervisor and was directed to our staff attorney and to human resources. The principal contacted the parents and the police that afternoon. The same day, the teacher’s assistant was placed on administrative leave with pay pending investigation.

The alleged bathroom incident, which happened approximately three weeks earlier, involved a different child and did not trigger a call to the police. Based on the information gathered at the school, it was seen as a very poor decision and inappropriate behavior. The principal documented this immediately in a written reprimand to the teacher’s assistant.

The TA—who has not been in class since the allegation that she struck the student’s feet was made—is no longer employed by the district.

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