Originally published January 31 2014
Parents sue school district for covering up teacher's abuse of handicapped children
by PF Louis
(NaturalNews) Special education is the most demanding teaching job possible. It takes a very special person to deal with a classroom full of young kids with neurological problems and physical challenges. But there are times when a special ed teacher's character falls way short of what's needed to cope and help develop these unfortunate kids.
There are some incidents of extreme verbal and sometimes physical abuse that are often covered up to protect the school and/or school district's image. One such event occurred at Columbia Elementary, located in the small unincorporated community of Kings Mills around 50 miles north by northeast of Cincinnati.
A special education classroom was overcrowded and had become a classroom of horrors for kids who couldn't defend themselves or even relate what was happening to them with their parents.
The teacher, Amanda Kitcho, was found to be very abusive toward those children. It took several reports from different sources, many from within the school, to uncover Kitho's abusive behavior.
The school's top administrators, principals Jerry Gasper and Shelley Detmer-Bogaert did nothing until it became clear that the local news media was getting wind of Kitho's several months of abusive behavior toward severely handicapped children.
Only then did school administrators collect depositions from other teachers and school staff, one of whom had resigned after witnessing Kitcho's abusive behavior.
The school administration finally notified the Child Abuse Unit of the Warren County Sheriff's Office where Kings Mills is located. Instead of having Kitcho fired and charged with child abuse, the Sheriff helped negotiate a deal for special ed teacher Kitcho where she could quit with high recommendations from the school district and collect a severance payment that would cover the remainder of her contract.
But the parents and guardians didn't go away quietlyThanks to a "citizen activist" who had demanded and recovered the depositions and reports collected by the school, the five parents and guardians whose children suffered a school year in hell from a special ed teacher's sadistic wrath have filed a suit in Federal Court against Amanda R. Kitcho and Columbia Elementary School principals Jerry Gasper and Shelley Detmer-Bogaert.
The complaint includes this statement: "the Kings Local School District and its employees and officials unlawfully and injuriously abused and neglected the children, failed to notify proper authorities, and then covered up their unlawful conduct." All the plaintiffs used initials for their children to protect their identity.
The lead plaintiff, a 10-year-old girl identified as HM in the suit, suffered from congenital disorders of glycosylation and cerebellar hypoplasia. Both are brain disorders from birth that cause severe physical motor disability, seizures, organ and growth impairment and impaired cognitive development.
HM was often made to crawl to the bathroom in the hallway without her walker or strapped into her portable support chair with duct tape and placed in that bathroom for long periods as punishment while she screamed, "I have to go potty," and Kitcho would scream back mockingly, "I hate you, I hate you!"
Though HM's treatment was the most fragrantly abusive, the other four plaintiffs discovered that Kitcho routinely took their children's lunches, threw away their possessions, mocked their clothing and verbally abused them to incite worse behavior and justify punishing them.
Attorneys Christopher Finney of Cincinnati and Curt Hartman of nearby Amelia are representing the children and their families against officials who thought they'd get away with covering up a teacher's cruelty for their benefit.
Special education classes should be less crowded with teachers better screened and given higher pay while their classes are more closely monitored for the children's benefit. Evidently, that's not quite happening enough.
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