Video shows teacher dragging autistic student down hallways, around corners

The footage is difficult to watch

GREENUP COUNTY, KY (WSAZ/GRAY NEWS) – A Kentucky school district released a statement on Monday about an elementary school teacher caught on video dragging an autistic student down a hallway, WSAZ reports.

In the video, a teacher at Wurtland Elementary School drags a 9-year-old boy by what appears to be his wrists. At one point, it appears the teacher tries to get the child to walk on his own, but he remains limp and she goes right back to dragging him around the corners of the school.

Greenup County Schools Superintendent Sherry Horsley said the woman is no longer teaching at the school, and has not released the teacher’s name nor title.

WARNING: The video contains subject matter that may be upsetting.

"My son deserves justice," the boy's mother, Angel Nelson, wrote on Facebook. "The fact that my son is not able to fully verbalize what he went through means that we must fight that much harder for all kids, but especially the kids who cannot speak for themselves."

Nelson says her son was previously diagnosed with autism, ADHD, PTSD, anxiety, and depression. "In addition, his speech is also limited," Nelson wrote. "He has an IEP (Individualized Education Program) in place to help make sure that all his needs are met while at school."

In the video, the boy is sometimes on his back and other times sliding on his knees while he is being dragged. The teacher pulls him by one arm at times, and both of his arms at other times.

"This incident was violent enough to not only injure my child, but to also destroy his shoes," Nelson wrote on Facebook. "[The teacher] forcefully grabbed my son by the wrist and bent it backward while he was experiencing a meltdown (which he sometimes experiences as part of his diagnoses.)"

Nelson said a doctor diagnosed her son with sprains to both his left and right wrists.

She also said her son told her that the teacher "threw him hard down onto a chair" before dragging him down the hallway, but the cameras do not show that. They only show what happened outside of the classroom.

“It is my belief that all schools should be required to have cameras in place in order to protect students and teachers,” Nelson wrote. “Also, all schools should have more training for teachers to handle children with disabilities and to learn proper protocol to retrain and redirect if needed.”

Horsley released the following statement:

“The Greenup County School District prioritizes the safety of our students. The district followed established safety protocol as soon as this situation became known. The parent was contacted immediately, and the student was assessed by the school nurse and referred for outside medical evaluation. Child Protective Services was contacted and the Kentucky State Police opened an investigation. The teacher was removed from the school and a formal investigation was conducted. The superintendent also followed protocol and reported the incident to the Kentucky Education Standards Board. The EPSB determines whether or not a teacher keeps their teaching certificate. All GCSD staff are trained to prevent incidents of restraint. Each school has a specially trained team to address immediate issues. In addition, each school has teachers specially trained to address autism related behaviors.”

Nelson would also like to see more laws in place to help children like her son.

“We as parents trust teachers and school staff on a daily basis to help teach and help our children succeed,” said Nelson. “We should never have to worry about anything like this ever happening.”

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