The Lee County School District has agreed to pay a settlement of $200,000 to a couple who claimed that a kindergarten teacher abused their autistic son.
The parents sued the school district last year, claiming that his teacher force fed him, twisted his wrists, and bent his fingers back to discipline him. The suit blamed the school district for hiring the teacher, even though she allegedly had a previous history of using inappropriate discipline methods against special needs students in Charlotte County. The suit also accused school administrators of keeping the teacher in the classroom despite allegations that she had been abusive while teaching at Gulf Elementary in Cape Coral – another Lee County elementary school.
The couple claims that in the seven months their son was in the teacher’s class, he went from “happy-go-lucky” to a nonverbal child who hurt himself and now requires round-the-clock care.
“Obviously, my child has been irreversibly damaged,” one of the boy’s parents told Naplesnews.com. “I would never want that to happen to another family. I would never want to have another family go through what we’ve endured.”
According to Naplesnews.com, records show the teacher has been accused of abuse since as early as 1994. Aides who worked with her at Gulf Elementary accused her of knocking out a child’s tooth, scratching another child, and rubbing spit in a child’s face. While employed in Charlotte County, she had been accused of stepping on children’s toes and putting hand sanitizer in their mouths.
There is never any excuse for child abuse – especially not from teachers to whom we have entrusted our children’s care. If you believe that the negligence of an institution has allowed your child to be abused psychologically or physically, you have a legal right to hold them accountable for their actions.