A couple raising a 14-year-old developmentally disabled student say they hid a recording device on the girl to prove a teacher and school aide were bullying her, and the audio and subsequent investigations have led to a lawsuit, the aide’s resignation and disciplinary action for the teacher.
The girl’s mother and the woman’s longtime boyfriend said in court documents that they complained about the mental and emotional abuse to school officials in the Miami Trace district, about 30 miles southwest of Columbus, and then secretly recorded instructors’ comments for four days last spring after their claims were rebuffed.
In the recording, voices identified as aide Kelly Chaffins and teacher Christie Wilt are heard questioning the girl’s weight and how active she is and making derogatory comments about her character and the character of her mother and the boyfriend.
“Are you that damn dumb? Are you that dumb?” Chaffins said. “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.”
The boyfriend, who is helping raise the girl, complained earlier through normal channels, and this was the school’s response:
In an email to a social worker in April, [district superintendent Dan] Roberts said he had looked into similar complaints from the boyfriend earlier in the year and found that the girl was lying. “It came to a point where I had to remind the man that his continued false accusations were bordering on harassment and slander,” the email says.
And how does Roberts describe this horrific situation?
“The persons involved fell short of our mission,” Roberts told the Washington Court House Record Herald, which first reported the story. “We’re sincerely sorry for that and we will work very hard to never let that happen again. We need to provide proper training and restate our expectations of how we treat children so that this never happens again.”
Yes, the training course is titled, “How not to be an a–.” Superintendent Roberts should sit in on a few classes as well.