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Lawsuits & Litigation

Did a Brevard County Special Education Teacher Abuse Students? One Lawsuit Thinks So.

— December 3, 2020

A Brevard County Special education teacher recently came under fire in a lawsuit alleging the teach abused fiver special needs students.

When parents drop their children off at school, there is a certain expectation that their children will be well cared for and looked after. The last thing many parents think about is that one of their children’s teachers may have other thoughts in mind. Unfortunately, one lawsuit recently filed alleges a teacher abused five students with disabilities. The federal civil rights lawsuit was filed against a Brevard County Special educations teacher on behalf of five students with varying disabilities including autism.

Gavel with law books; image by wp paarz, via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, no changes.
Gavel with law books; image by wp paarz, via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, no changes.

According to Aaron Carter Bates, the Orlando-based attorney representing the families of the students, four of the students are nonverbal. He also noted that “the paraprofessionals in the room were the ones who brought the allegations to light.” He added, “A whole classroom. That, to me, that you know, that’s just inexcusable.” He said that in all his years working as an attorney, he’s seen a lot, “but not a case where it was an entire class.”

What happened, though? For starters, the suit was filed a little over a week ago and alleges an “exceptional student education teacher at Ralph Williams Elementary School emotionally and physically abused five boys over the course of several weeks in 2019.” When asked about what happened, one of the parents said, “We knew there was something going on with our son. He was able to communicate it as best he could but not something that would ever point us to what we’ve learned thus far.”

At the moment, the identity of the teacher is being kept under wraps because no criminal charges have been filed. The suit claims the teacher often got in the student’s faces, “nose to nose, and would begin screaming and yelling at them until they began to cry.” Additionally, the suit alleges the teacher “would regularly step on their fingers or toes when they were not sitting directly upright, gave instructions to paraprofessionals on how to gag students that attempted to bite them and bragged about being known as the mean teacher at Ralph Williams.” One parent said:

“Long term this has impacted him greatly. We’ve had extensive therapy and continue extensive therapy and it’s been almost two years now.”

In addition to the teacher, the suit also names Brevard County schools and the district as defendants “for their fostering of a culture of nonaccountability.”

In addition to filing the lawsuit, parents say they want the school to implement changes, including “more cameras in the classroom, accountability, and increased awareness so this doesn’t happen to other families.”


Lawsuit claims Brevard special education teacher abused 5 students

Proper classroom techniques or child abuse? Two lawsuits surrounding Brevard teacher tell competing stories.

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