News Article Details

Autistic boy who was dragged down school hallway has been hurt before, mom says

Lexington Herald-Leader - 10/3/2018

Oct. 02--The mother of a Tates Creek Middle School student with autism says that her son, who sustained cuts and bruises when school officials dragged him down a hallway in September, has been hurt in school before.

"This is not the first time that he has been hurt in a Fayette County Public school, this is just the first time that its been thoroughly investigated," Jo Grayson told the Herald-Leader.

Grayson said she discovered "clear thumbprint marks on his armpits in that area between his shoulder and chest" last school year when her 11-year-old son was a student at Julius Marks Elementary.

Grayson said after the incident at Julius Marks, school officials told her her son had "a melt down" and a crisis team had been called in.

Two years ago, Grayson said, she was not notified in a timely manner when another student bit her son on the face, leaving a mark.

She said her son is mostly non-verbal.

In the incident at Tates Creek Middle, Grayson said, "he was really really tired" after a morning of speech therapy and instruction and refused to get up off the gym floor. A state child protective services worker investigating the case told Grayson that a video showed that a teacher and a school nurse didn't pick him up off the floor, but dragged him down a hallway until they reached what is known as "a resource room," she said.

Grayson said the state child protective services worker told her that the teacher involved in the incident had been put on administrative leave.

Fayette County Public Schools takes all reports "of this nature" seriously, district spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall said in a statement released Tuesday.

"While we cannot discuss individual personnel matters, we can say that in a situation involving these types of allegations, we would make a report to the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and place the employee involved on administrative leave until the investigation is complete," she said.

Grayson, who has also shared her concerns with WLEX-TV, said that a teacher informed her on Sept. 13 that the boy had to be picked up off the gym floor. But she said she was not told by the teacher that he was dragged down a hallway.

"They are doing a full investigation. School police are looking into it, (child protective services) is involved and that's all that I know at this point," said Grayson.

"I feel like this is a staff training issue," she said, adding she is calling for better school staff training and "cameras in every classroom."

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