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South Hill teacher accused of taping student’s mouth shut
SoVaNow.com / March 06, 2013Two South Hill Elementary school teachers and an instructional aide have been placed on administrative leave as the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Social Services investigate allegations that a student’s mouth was covered with tape while at school.
According to Sheriff Bobby Hawkins, the Sheriff’s Office is working with Social Services to determine the exact nature of the incident after receiving a complaint that a special education teacher taped shut the mouth of one of her students. The complaint alleges that the instructional aide for the class and a second teacher both witnessed the offense, but failed to report the matter to authorities at the school.
“The investigation is ongoing. But we are working with [Commonwealth’s Attorney] Nora Miller’s Office to determine what, if any, charges should be filed,” Hawkins said. Miller did not respond to calls seeking comment.
Virginia Code section 18.2-57 allows teachers certain latitude to engage in “minor or reasonable physical contact” when it comes to maintaining “order and control” in the classroom, or to prevent the student from inflicting physical harm to himself, to another, or to school property.
Superintendent of Schools James Thornton confirmed that two teachers and an aide were placed on administrative leave, but did not name the employees.
Late last week, the School Board announced it had scheduled two closed session meetings to discuss personnel matters, one for March 7 at 5:30 p.m., and the other for March 18 at 5:30 p.m. The topics covered in those meetings are not public information, and it is not known if trustees will discuss the alleged South Hill school incident.
In similar incidents, teachers from across the country have run into trouble for using tape to silence unruly students. In Ohio, a teacher may lose her job because students jokingly taped their own mouths and she posted photographs of them on her private Facebook page.
In 2011, a Bakersfield, Calif. teacher was fired after she taped the mouth and hands of a freshman science student because the student kept making flicking noises with his finger and cheek during a test. A San Antonio elementary school teacher was first placed on leave and then fired after being accused of putting transparent tape over a first-grader’s mouth.
Last year a Florida teacher landed in hot water after silencing two noisy students by placing tape over their mouth. That teacher was reassigned after the incident was relayed to administrators.
However, an incident similar to the one alleged to have happened in South Hill did not end the career of one of the country’s most prominent educators, former Washington, D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee. In describing her own early teaching skills with a group of new teachers in 2010, Rhee claimed that as a young second-grade teacher at Baltimore’s Harlem Park Elementary, she taped the mouths of her students. That incident did not have any effect on Rhee’s career, although other teachers have not fared as well.
CommentsI can think of several adults I'd like to do that to, as I'm sure you all can.
I have one young'un at work whose mouth runs from the time he gets there till the time he leaves. He will talk all day and never say anything worthwhile. Good kid other than his motor mouth.
- By powerhouse on 03 / 06 / 13
CommentsThe Supt exercises his silencing tool too! He just fires those who speak! Whats the difference?
- By Fred on 03 / 06 / 13
CommentsUnder investigation, if this is found to be true, they need to be tried , if found guilty then go to prison .
- By Arthur on 03 / 06 / 13
CommentsReally Arhtur, you are what's wrong with this country. If the kids were being a pain in the but then what is the harm. Oh yeah libs say it will hurt there self-esteem. I remember when I got a whipping at school, teacher called home and I got another one at home!
- By allpolitical2 on 03 / 07 / 13
CommentsSpecial school board meeting on Mar. 12 at 7 pm at the Robert E Lee building in Chase City. Be there to voice your concerns.
well said allpolito!!
- By fred on 03 / 07 / 13
CommentsThat child had special needs, u don't even know if that child knew what he was doing. I pulled my disabled son out of South Hill Elementry because I saw a teacher smack a little boy on the butt and jerked his arm and put him on the floor because he climbed on a table. I reported her and took my son out of school in the same day. Some people don't have patience enough for the special needs children and if they feel they don't have the patience for them then they should talk to someone or quit instead of doing something they will regret.... Another concerned mother....
- By Jessica on 03 / 08 / 13
CommentsAfter investigating, and, if found to be true, this teacher should be fired. End of story.
- By Ideal on 03 / 20 / 13
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