Five-Year-Old Black Special Needs Child Hung by Belt on a Blackboard*
By Mo Barnes
If you’re a parent of a school age student you pray each day that teachers will be just as loving to your child as you are. Special needs kids who suffer from developmental disabilities face unique challenges as they try to acclimate to a structured school environment. Sometimes these kids remain quiet, while at other times they may act out in the classroom. It takes a special kind of teacher to educate and care for these children and the teachers are often the best in the school system. But at Shoal Creek Elementary School in Conyers, Georgia punishment for a 5-year-old student was outrageous.
The child was allegedly misbehaving in class and the teacher decided to pick up the child and hang him from his belt loop on top of the chalkboard. Reportedly, in the classroom were also a teacher’s aide and a paraprofessional who allowed the punishment to proceed. The child was screaming and his cries alerted the principal, who intervened. The student’s grandmother Tracy Davis was understandably outraged at the punishment inflicted on her grandson. The Georgia Division of Family and Children Services was alerted and has begun an investigation that has revealed that this was not the first time the teacher has done this to the student.
A spokesperson for the Rockdale County School system stated,
“I can confirm we investigated an incident that involved a student being suspended on a hook by his belt-loop. The superintendent will recommend the termination of the three employees … Rockdale County Public Schools will always respond firmly and swiftly to ensure the safety and welfare of our young people. Immediate action is taken in cases where employee actions and decisions are contrary to district policies and training and may jeopardize student safety …Our superintendent has pledged to this community that his primary duty and responsibility is to keep our students safe and provide a secure environment in which they can learn and grow.”
In addition, school superintendent Richard Autry called the grandmother on Tuesday and apologized and stated that the actions of the teachers were unacceptable and they would no longer be able to teach in Rockdale County. Davis spoke to media and stated, “I’m glad that they’re not at that school anymore and I hope that they’re not able to teach again. Let this be a lesson. We’re supposed to love our children, and treat them kind. You’re not supposed to mistreat them just because they’re at a disadvantage. It’s not right.”
The student and his classmates now have a new teacher as the school system and the state continue their investigation.