BROWNSBURG Ind. (WISH) — Brownsburg Community School Corp. announced in a press release Wednesday that two special education staff members were being terminated after investigation found they mistreated a special education student.
Brownsburg Police Department has also announced charges against the two staff members as well as three other teaching staff. One staff member is a third-party contractor from K1ds Count Therapy.
According to Brownsburg police, the Brownsburg Community School Police reported that a student had been mistreated during lunch at Brown Elementary in February.
Police say that through interviews and reviews of evidence, a teacher allegedly told the child that if he vomited, he would be required to eat what he threw up. Another teacher who was present, provided a tray for the child to vomit on. After the child vomited, a third staff member provided a spoon that the child was told to use to consume his vomit.
Capt. Jennifer Barrett with the Brownsburg Police Department said of the child, “His cognitive disability is one where he is unable to recall certain events, such as this memory, which is why it was never reported. He was not able to recall that to tell his parent or a trusted adult.”
Two other staff members were present and witnessed the incident, according to police. Those staff have been placed on administrative leave pending Brownsburg school board rulings.
Charges announced by the Hendricks County Prosecutor’s Office were as follows:
- Brown Elementary Life Skills Teacher Sara Seymour, 27, was charged with neglect of a dependent as a Level 6 felony, and failure to report, a Class B misdemeanor.
- Brown Elementary Life Skills Instructional Aide Debra Kanipe, 63, was charged with neglect of a dependent as a Level 6 felony, and failure to report, a Class B misdemeanor.
- Brown Elementary Life Skills Teacher Julie Taylor, 48, was charged with failure to report, a Class B misdemeanor.
- Brown Elementary Life Skills Instructional Aide Kristen Mitchell, 38, was charged with failure to report, a Class B misdemeanor.
- K1ds Count Registered Behavioral Technician Megan King, 24, was charged with failure to report, a Class B misdemeanor.
According to police, Seymour advised the child that he would be made to eat his vomit, and Taylor provided the tray for the child to vomit on. Kanipe provided the spoon the child was made to eat the vomit with. Mitchell and King were present and witnessed the incident.
Talking with News 8 after the charges were announced earlier Wednesday, Joyce Vonderahe said her nieces and nephews went to the 7-year-old’s elementary school. She was shocked to hear the allegations.
“I cannot believe someone would do that to a child, especially a special needs child.”
“Even my worst nightmares of what a child would do, you do not do that to a child,” Vonderahe said. “Put them in a timeout or something like that. You don’t make him eat his own vomit.”
Vonderahe said, “I think they should go to jail and serve a very long time and I kind of hope the other three get the same thing. Nothing is too harsh for them. They deserve whatever the judge wants to throw at them. I’m OK with it.”
Vonderahe said, “I can’t even imagine what those people were thinking. You don’t do that to anybody let alone a child They’re teachers. They’re supposed to be good people.”
News 8’s Danielle Zulkosky contributed to this report.
Brownsburg school district fires 2, puts 3 on leave after ‘mistreatment’ of student – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana Weather | Indiana Traffic (wishtv.com)