GREENVILLE (CBS11) – A Greenville elementary school teacher accused of abusing an autistic child has been placed back on administrative leave.READ MORE: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Sues Google Over Radio Ads For Smartphone
Last week, we shared the story of 7-year-old Ford Smith. His mother came to us with an accusation that, though still unproven was nevertheless alarming.
“He’s just told me that he made her mad and that she pushed him to the wall,” says his mother, Stephanie Smith, “and he hit the wall with his face and fell down.”
A Greenville Schools spokesperson told us in a statement last week the teacher had been cleared by both internal and CPS investigations. A later statement clarified that the teacher was reinstated based on a voicemail message from a caseworker.
After a CBS 11 story aired, the district acknowledged ‘rumors’ and confirmed through CPS that “the case had not been formally closed.” That statement from district spokesperson Kelli Tharp went on to say that “Out of an abundance of caution, GISD immediately placed the teacher back on administrative leave.”
And although the investigation is still open, it is troubling to many families that this particular teacher has been accused in the past.
“We can’t imagine what that little boy went through,” says Lynn Craig, “we just know that he has been terrified from the time he started that school, until we took him out.”
Craig’s 7-year-old grandson, Taylor Tipton, ended his time at Carver Elementary abruptly two years ago. Severely autistic, he struggled to communicate—but, his family says his behavior screamed that something was wrong.READ MORE: Homeowner's Death Brings Scrutiny To Emergency Services In Prosper Area
“You could tell he was broken… just very broken,” says Craig, wiping away tears… “and this was a child that was never that way.”
And then came this: “He said ‘she hurt me’,” recalled the boy’s mother, Crista Tipton. “And I said `who hurt you… she hurt me. She pulled my hair and hit my face on the table’.”
Also emotional, Tipton continued, “I hurt for my child. He told us on a Saturday… and on that Monday, I went to the school and told them that I wasn’t bringing him back.”
The district found no wrongdoing. But, Craig now home schools her grandson. And they also want to warn other parents with children in the special needs program to keep a close watch on their kids.
“These children don’t have a voice, unless we speak up,” says Craig.
Smith has said that she would like to remove her son from the school… but, is still weighing her options, while managing the challenges of a life that has left her very few.
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