Category Archives: Special Needs

FL School Resource Officer Suspended

.jpg photo of Father and his Son who was abused
Eddie Perillo and his Son

School resource officer suspended during
Child Abuse investigation

OKALOOSA COUNTY, FL  –  A former Okaloosa County school resource officer was suspended for “allegations of unsatisfactory performance and not obeying the rules”, according to a report released by the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO).

It all came to light, the OCSO reports, when the sheriff’s office began investigating allegations of child abuse at Kenwood Elementary School in May.

OCSO launched an internal investigation when child protection investigators with the Department of Children and Families (DCF) revealed the resource officer did not help or cooperate with multiple ongoing child abuse investigations at the elementary school.

Officials say Officer Dwayne Vasiloff wrote seven initial child abuse reports between August 2016 and June of 2017.  However, during that same time, DCF investigators made 46 investigative visits to the school.

The internal investigation deemed Vasiloff neglected his duty and was “content” with DCF handle the investigations and the resulting workload.

While Vasiloff denied any wrongdoing, he was suspended without pay, reassigned and put on probation.  The sheriff’s office said Vasiloff retired in July before finishing his probation.

The State Attorney’s Office said the investigation has “no bearing on the ongoing criminal investigation in the Marlynn Stillions case”, according to OCSO. Channel 3 News reached out to Assistant State Attorney Greg Marcille, who said Vasiloff is “not a suspect at this time.  The investigation is ongoing and if additional facts come forward it is possible that status could change.”

The special needs teacher faces four counts of child abuse related to allegations she abused a boy with Autism. 

FL School District Covered Abuse Of Special Needs Child Over A Year

.jpg photo of Father and his Son who was abused
Eddie Perillo and his Son

School district addresses Child Abuse claims
in special news conference

OKALOOSA COUNTY, FL  –  Allegations of an Okaloosa County special needs teacher abusing a nonverbal child with autism has rocked the county.

On Monday, the school board will hold its regular meeting less than an hour after the superintendent holds a press conference.

The father of the child who was allegedly abused believes the school district tried to cover up signs of abuse.

Others in the community said it’s time for more oversight.

The saga began in 2015 at Kenwood Elementary School, when Eddie Perillo’s nonverbal autistic son moved into the classroom of Marlynn Stillions.

Eddie’s son spent more than a year in the teacher’s classroom.  At the same time, Eddie noticed changes to his son’s behavior.

“He became aggressive and he had aggressive behavior and just was acting a little different,” Perillo said.

It took until May of 2017 when Perillo was able to obtain a copy of a school district investigation, which accused Stillions of abusing the children in her care, for Perillo to learn about the alleged abuse.

He took the case to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office and believes it goes all the way to the superintendent’s office.

“I believe she knew about it.  To be honest with you, that’s my thoughts on everything. and if she didn’t, which is very hard to believe, she definitely should’ve been aware of it and taken action,” Perillo said.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office investigated the claims and made three arrests, including the teacher, the principal of Kenwood Elementary and the school district’s investigator.

Other members of the autism community, like Angela Hager in Okaloosa County, said it’s a crossroad for the district.

Her autistic son spent almost two decades in Okaloosa County schools.

“I was shocked and very disturbed that not only those events happening, that there were so many witnesses that had seen these things happen and did not come forward until there was an employee intervention being conducted,” Hager said.

She’s on the agenda to speak at Monday night’s meeting.

“I think that there are things that can be done to fix this.  That’s what I want to see.  It’s not that I’ve lost all faith, it’s just that there are deficiencies that need to be addressed,” Hager said.

FL Women Abuse Special Needs Child

.jpg photo of women accused of abuse of special needs child
Kaderrica Smith, 26 (left), and Alexus Henderson, 19

Day care workers charged after Snapchat video shows taunting, abuse of autistic child

WINTER HAVEN, FL  –  Two child care workers have turned themselves into police after investigators said they were suspected of berating a child with autism in an incident recorded on video, reports CBS affiliate WTSP.

In the video, which was first posted to the social media platform Snapchat, two women who police believe are 26-year-old Kadericca Smith and 19-year-old Alexis Henderson can be seen laughing at the 8-year-old boy inside Our Children’s Academy, in Winter Haven, Florida.

“Chicken, chicken, chicken,” one woman can be heard saying, as the boy comes out from hiding under a desk.

Later, one of the women is seen holding the boy’s arms before apparently swiping his legs from under him.

Police were first made aware of this on Sept. 1 and say in an initial interview, both women “felt they were acting appropriately” and did nothing wrong.  At the time, police hadn’t pressed charges because the Florida Department of Children and Families was still investigating.

Warrants were later issued for the women’s arrest, and they reportedly turned themselves in Friday.

Henderson is charged with child neglect and Smith faces charges of child abuse and battery.  Henderson received bond after being booked into jail, but Smith is being held with bond.

Smith faces charges of child abuse and battery.

Police say the school immediately fired the two women following the incident.  Both also had blocks placed on their certifications so they cannot be employed by other childcare facilities.

The 8-year-old did not require medical attention.

TX Teacher Charged With Biting Special Needs Student

.jpg photo of teacher accused of abusing special needs child
Kirsten Barnett, 25

Abilene teacher accused of biting student resigns

ABILENE, TX  –  An Abilene preschool teacher accused of biting a 4-year-old autistic student has resigned, the Abilene Independent School District said in a statement Wednesday.

Kirsten Barnett, 25, is charged with injury to a child, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

She was arrested and released from the Taylor County Jail on Tuesday on a $5,000 bond, according to jail records.

The school district placed Barnett on paid administrative leave Feb. 2, said Philip Ashby, AISD spokesman, in an email.  She remained on paid leave until she resigned April 7.

Barnett allegedly bit the 4-year-old student Feb. 1, while trying to move the student from the sand where the child was playing to the math area, according to court documents.

The student did not want to go and dropped to the floor, where Barnett reportedly pulled the child onto her lap and placed him in a restraining hold, court documents state.

The child began to squirm and push against Barnett, and then she bent down and bit the student on his cheek by his ear, according to court documents.  The child then yelled out.

A teacher’s aide who said she saw what happened saw the bite mark on the student’s face, court documents state.

Barnett worked at the Locust Early Childhood Center, according to a staff directory, until she resigned.

“When the allegations first came to the school’s attention, administrators acted swiftly to report the incident to the Abilene Police Department.  The teacher was immediately placed on leave during the course of the police investigation and has not returned to the classroom or interacted with students again,” the district said in a statement.  “The safety of our students is our top priority, and we are grateful for the immediate reporting by witnesses and for the cooperation from the Abilene Police Department.”

School Employee Assaults Special Needs Child

.jpg photo of school where employee assaulted Child
Public School Employee assaults Child

Ex-Middle school staffer charged with Child Abuse

JACKSONVILLE, FL  –  A former Duval County teacher’s assistant is facing child abuse charges from an altercation with two students in December.

According to Duval County School Board investigative reports, teacher assistant Robert Fields resigned, rather than face termination proceedings.

The reports said Fields told two students at Arlington Middle School to get back inside after they left a building with a basketball and a football without permission.

The students obeyed, but refused to hand over the balls and started to play keep-away with Fields, bouncing the balls off walls and windows.

That led to a physical confrontation between Fields and both students, the reports said.

Fields wrestled one to the floor and took the football away from him, and he shoved the other student several times in the chest and brought him into an intervention room, according to the reports.

Once inside, Fields and the second student got into a wrestling match, which only broke up when Duval County School Police Officer Ryan Goethe opened the door.

Fields told Goethe the student punched him in the face several times, and Goethe arrested the student.

No surveillance video was available from the intervention room, but there was video from the hallway.  Goethe did not retrieve that video for days, and when he did, he could see that Fields initiated the violence.

He told his supervisor, Sgt. Leslie Sams, and the State Attorney’s Office was advised about what the surveillance video showed.

Charges were dropped against the student, who was released from juvenile lockup after nine days.

Child abuse charges were filed against Fields.

Both officers were found to have violated School Board Police procedures.