Teacher accused of restraining special ed student

February 8, 2008 3:46:53 PM PST
A Chicago Public Schools teacher has been removed from the classroom after she allegedly taped a 9-year-old special education student to a chair.

The teacher had been working at Medgar Evers School at 98th and South Lowe for about a week. School officials say she was teaching a classroom of four or five special education students Tuesday when one child would not sit down. The teacher used masking tape to restrain him to the chair. The child wiggled free after a few minutes.

Three students reported the incident to a counselor.

The teacher has been told not to report back to school. She received her teaching credentials last June.

It's likely the teacher is going to lose her job, and there's a chance she could face criminal charges for allegedly restraining the student. But according to the Chicago Teachers Union, the district is releasing some bad information.

"There's no justification for this type of behavior," said Michael Vaughn, spokesman, Chicago Public Schools. "We hold our employees to a high standard."

An investigation is underway. If the allegations are true, the teacher will be fired. But according to the CTU, the school district's account of the incident is not accurate. The spokesperson for the CTU, Rosemaria Genova, said Friday: "this story has been blown way out of proportion. The allegations against the teacher are misleading."

She would not go on camera to elaborate, citing the advice of an attorney.

"The teacher will have a chance to explain herself, but based on our initial investigation, we talked to the teacher and it appears that the allegations will be substantiated," said Vaughn.

Parents say despite the disturbing nature of the allegations, they believe this is an isolated incident and are not concerned for the overall safety of their children.

"I know for a fact they have some great teachers here," said Bennett Woods."No child should be tied down, regardless if they're special ed or not."

"I went to this school, the neighborhood, and they have really good teachers. You know, it's something to look into, but I'm not concerned as far as, you know, the main teachers who are here," said Denise Hudson.

Experts on students with special needs say physical restraint is a last resort and in most cases isn't necessary. The teacher has been temporarily re-assigned to an administrative job. Her name hasn't been released, because so far she is not facing any criminal charges.