A concerned Martinsburg parent secretly placed a recording device in her child’s chair in school, which then recorded a disturbing interaction between a teacher and two aides.
Amber Pack’s 7-year-old daughter Adri attended West Virginia’s Berkeley Heights Elementary School. In October 2018, Pack stated that Adri would cry and refuse to return to the school.
Pack talked to the school about the problem, but the administration chose to ignore her reports for four weeks. However, the school took action after Pack posted the audio on social media.
In the audio recording, one of the instructors could be heard saying, “I ought to backhand you right in your teeth. How’s that for anxiety?”
The teacher resigned and the school placed the other two employees on administrative leave.
Elaine Bobo, the school’s director, released a statement: “Berkeley County Schools will not tolerate any action or inaction that impacts the health, welfare and safety of our students. The employees involved in the Berkeley Heights incident were placed on administrative leave since the allegations surfaced and the teacher has since resigned. We’re conducting an internal investigation and are cooperating fully with the investigation by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Child Protective Services. State and federal privacy laws prohibit Berkeley County Schools from providing any additional information at this time.”
Attorney Catie Wilkes Delligatti and other investigators reviewed the recording, but Delligatti stated that West Virginia law does not classify verbal abuse as a criminal act. She added that she did not “in any way condone the verbal treatment of your children by the individuals in their classroom.”
The Office of Civil Rights confirmed that the incident sparked an investigation into possible disability discrimination at the school.