A federal lawsuit has been filed by the family of a 10-year old handicapped student who claims the boy was abused by a special needs teacher and her aide.
Jose Salinas suffers from cerebral palsy and, for the most part, is confined to a wheelchair. He is a special education student at Wicksburg High School.
The teachers were removed from their jobs after the family of Jose hid a taping device on the wheelchair----recording Alicia Brown, the teacher, and aide Drew Faircloth. Whether they committed verbal or other abuse is a matter of interpretation but it was enough to cost them their jobs.
"I'm sick that we have allowed this to happen in my system," Superintendent Tim Pitchford said in March, days after the alleged abuse. Brown and Faircloth were placed on administrative leave but allowed to return to their duties briefly. They were then placed on leave again. This time they were not allowed to return amid complaints from parents who have children at the school.
A criminal investigation was conducted by the Houston County Sheriff's Office but no charges were filed.
The lawsuit names as defendants the Houston County Board of Education, Pitchford, Wicksburg High School principal Cheryl Smith, along with Brown and Faircloth. It asks for a jury to award compensatory damages but does not ask for a certain amount.
It claims Jose has suffered physical pain, nausea, vomiting,
mental anguish, emotional distress, and loss of freedom, integrity and dignity.
Read the lawsuit below.