The mother of a 6-year-old West Virginia girl filed a civil lawsuit against the Berkeley County Board of Education and others, after claiming teachers and their aides emotionally abused her little girl.
According to court documents filed by Charleston lawyer Ben Salango, on behalf of parent, Amber Pack, three former employees at Berkeley Heights Elementary in Berkeley County have been accused of abusing a nonverbal autistic first grader. The incident allegedly happened during the 2018-2019 school year.
Pack, who filed the lawsuit after noticing her daughter cried before and after classes, put a secret recording device in her daughter’s hair before sending her to school in October 2018. The recording device captured a disturbing exchange between the girl and her teachers and the aides, as they insulted, threatened, and berated the child, according to the lawsuit.
Park said she didn’t think this was the first time the alleged abuse happened.
After listening to the exchange, Pack said she brought up the issue to school administration, but she alleged it was swept under the rug for around a month, prompting her to file against the school and four school employees, identified as,
- Christina Lester
- June Yurish
- Amber Boeckmann
- Kristin Douty
Lester, Yurish and Douty are accused of making threats of physical violence to the girl, reportedly captured on the recording device.
“I ought to backhand you right in your teeth. How’s that for anxiety?”
“I’m going to pull your hair until you start crying.”
“I’m a knock you out.”
Pack contacted the police, who went to the school in an attempt to investigate the incident, according to court documents. The school principal, Amber Boeckmann, contacted Pack afterward, and said teachers and the aides weren’t talking to the children, but instead talking to each other. Park said it was “clear” the employees were talking to her daughter and other children in the classroom.
Ultimately, authorities said there wasn’t enough evidence to file criminal charges.
In October 2018, Pack met with Special Education Coordinator Karen Petrucci, who informed her that despite complaints, the teachers were still employed and teaching at the school.
In early November, two of the teachers were placed on administrative leave after Park shared the recording on social media. Lester remained in the first grade class as a teacher. All three were later “allowed to resign from employment with the Board.”
Pack alleges that the Board of Education and the teachers and aides violated several of her daughter’s civil rights, and subjected the 6-year-old to “inappropriate, abusive, and threatening disability harassment and discrimination.”
Meanwhile, the little girl transferred to another school, where she’s doing much better. Pack said the girl has progressed more in three months than she did the entire year at her former school.
The story continues to develop. Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Provided]