Category Archives: Special Needs

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

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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.

AIDES CHARGED WITH “CHILD ABUSE”

Two Teacher Aides Charged In Antioch Classroom Child Abuse

Police Officers ask DA for felony Child Abuse charge for attack on Special Needs Child

San Francisco, California  –  Two teacher’s aides at an Antioch school for special-needs students have been charged with misdemeanors after a shocking video surfaced on social media last week that appeared to show one of them hitting a child in the face, fighting with him and tackling him to the ground.

Kamaljot Kaur, 26, was charged with misdemeanor child abuse, and another aide, 22-year-old Chad Corbin, was charged with failing to report an incident of child abuse as a mandatory reporter, according to Bruce Flynn, a Contra Costa County senior deputy district attorney.

School officials at Tobinworld II, the campus where the incident took place, said in a statement last week that the staff members involved had been suspended.  A school administrator told The Chronicle on Wednesday that they had been fired.

Although the Antioch Police Department initially asked the district attorney’s office to bring a felony child abuse charge against Kaur, prosecutors opted for the misdemeanor counts after concluding the incident did not appear likely to cause great bodily injury, which is required for child abuse to be classified as a felony.

Speaking Up For Special Needs

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Special Needs Children Should Be Protected

Bill urges new rules for investigating abuse of children with disabilities

MADISON, Wisconsin  –  Three state lawmakers are seeking support for a bill that would require the state to adopt certain protocols for investigating allegations of abuse and neglect when victims are children with disabilities.

The urged change to state law comes after a FOX6 investigation found children with disabilities in Wisconsin are dying, despite repeated calls to child protective service agencies.  In the last five years, 15 disabled children have died and nine others have been egregiously injured.

“These are children.  Their lives matter,” said Rep. LaTonya Johnson (D- Milwaukee), who is co-sponsoring this new legislation.  “15 kids losing their lives over five years.  If that was a result of a toy, we would be talking about a major recall.”

In some cases, FOX6 found investigations were closed because the child couldn’t effectively communicate with people investigating the allegations.

“Kids with autism, kids with Down syndrome and other intellectual disabilities will have a hard time explaining what happened to them. Sometimes they have very little speech,” explained Lisa Pugh with Disability Rights Wisconsin.

In this memo, circulated Monday, January 4th Rep. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc), Rep. Johnson, and Senator Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay) wrote “investigating claims of abuse and neglect of children with disabilities can present challenges for (child protective services) authorities if the child is non-verbal or communicates in an unfamiliar way, such as using symbols or signs to express themselves.”

The law, if passed, would require the Department of Children and Families to develop a model procedure to be used when investigating suspected child abuse or neglect of children with disabilities.  That procedure would have to be drafted and implemented by January 1st, 2017.  It would include making sure investigators use interviewing strategies that are tailored to the needs of children with disabilities.  Currently, DCF says there is no special protocol for investigating cases involving disabled victims.
If the bill is passed, local agencies could adopt the model policy, or develop their own policy.

Investigators would be required to first determine whether a child has a disability and then take certain steps to figure out how to best communicate with that child.

The legislation would also require investigators to have special training to deal with these kinds of cases, and to collaborate with local law enforcement agencies.

Spokesperson for the Department of Children and Families, Joe Scialfa, says “DCF is currently in the process of reviewing the proposed legislation, having discussions with the bill’s author, and meeting with a variety of stakeholders in order to have a thoughtful and informed evaluation of the proposal.”