Raquel Benson is a Senior Contributor to TDA, a journalism student, humanist, and artist with issues of chronic imagination. She may be brash, but it stems from a deeper concern for the world around her.
Update November 19, 2011
Social Issues – “I will kick your ass from here to kingdom-come until I’m 80 years old.” Is what 15-year –old special needs student Julio Artuz heard in response to his statement, “Don’t call me special.” At Bainbridge Regional School in New Jersey, Artuz stealthily video recorded a stomach-churning conversation between himself and his teacher—the evidence was obscene as the video revealed the obvious mental and emotional abuse.
The teen repeated in a calm yet firm voice, “Don’t call me special.” The video displayed quite clearly the teacher’s frustration and obvious lack of self-control.
On the edge of rampage, the teacher yelled, “What? Oh my god, f-ing. What does the sign on the front of the school say? Special Education.”
The student kept his cool as the teacher shouted at Artuz, threatening the teen while gesticulating in anger.
“Don’t threaten me” Artuz said.
“What are you going to do? What are you going to do? You gonna get a chopper and chop me? Like I’m scared. [...] When you get out of this school, you tell me where you are and I’ll call you anytime. There ain’t gonna be a stinking thing you can do. There ain’t gonna be nothing you’re gonna do.”
The teacher who said these harmful things is currently on paid leave until further notice when the investigation concludes.
Read more at Huffington Post.
Original Article November 18, 2011:
Social Issues – To confirm their suspicions of emotional abuse in the classroom, the parents of a fourteen-year-old developmentally disabled student hid a recording device on their daughter-what they found was absolutely appalling. The audio revealed that the young student’s teacher and school aide were bullying her about her weight and disparaging her character. Obviously, lawsuits ensued.
In court, the child’s mother and the woman’s longtime boyfriend displayed the mental abuse loud and clear as they let the tape roll. In the recording, the voices of teacher Christie Wilt and aide Kelly Chaffins both take verbal cheap-shots at the child. In one part of the recording, Chaffins’ voice is heard saying, “Are you that damn dumb? Are you that dumb?[...] Oh, my God. You are such a liar. … You told me you don’t know. It’s no wonder you don’t have friends. No wonder nobody likes you. Because you lie, cheat … steal.”
In another part of the recording, Wilt makes some nasty remarks at the girl about the results of a test before even evaluating it. Refusing to grade it she spoke, “You know what, just keep it. You failed it. I know it. I don’t need your test to grade. You failed it.”
“You should be embarrassed. I just am in awe. Makes you worthless.”
Even though the student’s mother, Kourtney Barcus and her boyfriend (who helps raise the girl) had been suspicious about the aide for several years, they were still in utter shock when they heard the evidence in the audio.
At the end of the lawsuit, a $300,000 settlement was reached by the girl’s family against the school district. Chaffins is banned from getting another teacher’s aide job in the state of Ohio. Wilt hasn’t been teaching because she’s on family medical leave.