Keeping tabs on your child’s progress in school is obviously important, and many teachers do an excellent job keeping parents informed as to class happenings and necessary reminders.
There are many ways to communicate such information to parents. The Remind app is great for mass bulletins, or a class email chain. For notifications that are specific to one student, there’s always a phone call home, or a note placed in the child’s backpack.
You know what types of communication should be off the list of options for school staff to use? Those that cause bodily harm to a student.
And while that should be a blatantly obvious standard, it isn’t, apparently.
A teacher’s aide recently thought that stapling a note from school to the head of a child with special needs would be an appropriate way to inform his parents that he needed to bring a water bottle to school, & no one in their right mind can fathom why.
Mom Sheli Myers of Boardman, Ohio was concerned when her autistic son appeared to be very “shook up” after arriving home from his day at Boardman Center Intermediate School.
Her (unnamed) son had good reason to be distressed; a teacher’s aide had allegedly stapled a note to his HEAD requesting that his water bottle be brought to school.
According to local new station Fox 8, Myers filed a report about the incident at her local police station & stated that a classroom aide had attempted to staple a reminder note to the child’s hair.
One of the staples actually struck his neck, leaving a red mark & some slight scabbing.
(As though stapling a note to a student’s HAIR rather than his head would somehow be acceptable?? And this is a person that has been given the authority to work with children, people.)
According to the report, Myers’ son was frightened & reluctant to return to school.
And it’s completely reasonable considering that an adult classroom assistant had basically tried to puncture his head with a stapler to send a “reminder” home.
Based on the initial report, the police opted not to file charges as per their consultation with the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office.
While the question of assault charges is apparently debatable according to police, you’d think that a teacher’s aide stapling a paper to the head of a student with special needs would warrant immediate firing, right?
Nope. At least not according to the standards of Boardman School District, it appears.
Myers was reasonably appalled by the aide’s actions, but when she appealed to the school to address the incident, the aide was merely given a verbal warning for her actions.
In short, Boardman school Superintendent Tim Saxton decided that since the teacher’s aide had a clean record prior to this incident & hadn’t “deliberately” tried to injure Sheli Myers’ son with the stapler, no harm, no foul, right?
Myers has hired the law firm Agins and Gilman, LLC, of Lyndhurst, who publicly released a statement on social media claiming that the school board:
downplayed the severity of the events by stating the teacher’s aide who injured Ms. Myers’ son had “no intent to harm” and therefore only required a warning as reprimand.
It’s important to note here that despite Saxton’s claims that the aide had a “clean” record prior to this incident:
He neglected to mention that this lady’s behavior has been the subject of multiple complaints by Ms. Myers.
Is anyone else thinking that, past history or no, any staff member trying to STAPLE A PAPER TO A CHILD’S HEAD doesn’t belong working with students, period???
Why should Sheli Myers -or any parent, ever- even be placed in the position of having to convince a school district of this??
If this incident had happened in a private home, there is no doubt that a CPS investigation and possible charges would be the consequence of this adult’s reckless decision.
The idea of any student being relegated to a classroom with staff that has been antagonistic toward him or her is uncomfortable. But the idea of a student with special needs interacting daily with a staff member that creates a hostile, potentially unsafe learning environment is even more tragic.
Sheli Myers is clearly looking to protect her son by having an unsuitable teacher’s aide removed from her position; after the stapler incident, who could blame her?
At this point, the Boardman school district stands by its initial decision not to pursue further disciplinary action against the stapling staff member.
A statement was released by Boardman Schools Communications Coordinator Amy Radinovic & shared on local news station WKBN News 27 that stated:
The Boardman local schools based its decision on the facts as presented by our own investigation, as well as the investigation of the Boardman police and members of the local prosecutor’s office.
While there are so many gifted & selflessly devoted teachers’ aides out there doing an exemplary job daily, this aide is an unfortunate example of someone who should NOT be trusted to work with children, particularly those that are more vulnerable.
And that is Sheli Myers’ hope, as per her own Facebook statement regarding the issue:
While it remains to be seen what the ultimate outcome of this bizarrely inappropriate incident will be, it’s unfortunate that a parent should have to resort to hiring an attorney in order to protect his or her child from those that are supposed to educate & nurture them.