Loudon County teacher under investigation
wbir.com-LOUDON COUNTY - Loudon County Schools has suspended without pay one of its special education teachers as the Tennessee Department of Children's Services investigates accusations of harsh treatment of a young student.
That's according to Loudon County Director of Schools Jason Vance, who wouldn't comment on the ongoing investigation but did say the suspension without pay follows district policy any time any teacher or staff member comes under investigation. He said the suspension lasts at least as long as the duration of the investigation, depending on the investigation's findings.
The incident involves a special education teacher at Eaton Elementary School and a 5-year-old student with cerebral palsy.
The boy's mother, Corey Smith, said her son Briley Yarbrough sometimes has difficulties at school.
"He's non-verbal, and he cannot walk," she explained Tuesday evening at her Loudon County home. "He can't physically do much for himself."
That's one of the reasons why Smith was outraged when she learned one of Briley's special education teachers is under investigation by DCS for an incident documented in the written statements of two fellow special education teachers.
While the teacher has been suspended without pay, she has not been charged with any crime. As such, it is WBIR's policy not to name her.
One of the accounts says that on Wednesday, April 8, the teacher, "seemed agitated...and lost her temper on numerous occasions with Briley. On 2 occasions that I witnessed, when he would start yelling and head banging, (the teacher) walked to him, yanked him off the floor by his upper arms...and carried him in that manner to the Uh-Oh chair, all the while yelling at him that he does not act like that in the room."
That account goes on to say, "this is not the first time this type of action has been taken with Briley...This is not an issue that physically harms Briley but the handling does not seem appropriate to me. The tone of voice and yelling this is used with him borders on verbal abuse to me."
What these two teachers encountered was enough to prompt them to report what happened to the state.
"They knew something was going on and it was way out of control," Smith said.
Smith, however, said nobody officially contacted her about it until six days later, when DCS showed up on her doorstep Tuesday morning.
The school, she said, "definitely should've contacted me. As a parent, that's my child, and if there's something going on with my child at school that has anything to do with a teacher or anybody else, I should be the first person to get notified."
The second teacher said in her written statement to law enforcement that, "(the teacher) got very mad & upset with (Briley). She would go over and grab him on the upper arms/shoulder and pick him up or go over shaking on his chair or something telling him he was not going to act this way. She was using a very loud voice, which upset him more."
It goes on to say, "I was nervous that (the teacher) was too aggravated & upset to be alone with the kids during lunch."
Vance, director of Loudon County schools, said he hopes the investigation wraps up this week, though he said it could take up to 30 days to complete.