A Towson University student has posted a YouTube video saying she saw her mentor teacher hit and kick 3-year-old autistic students. After reporting the abuse she was suspended, and now school officials are suggesting Asperger's syndrome is affecting her teaching.
The student, who goes by the username "motleyprism," posted this video yesterday:
As she explains, while student teaching in a special education classroom at Baltimore City's Thomas Johnson Elementary, she witnessed her supervising teacher shouting in children's faces, taking their lunches away, grabbing them violently, and kicking them to the ground. She reported what she saw and the principal told the children's parents, but she heard that during the meetings, "He also said to discount what I say because I'm on the autism spectrum, therefore I must be mentally deficient, I might be lying."
As horrible as that is, the problem goes beyond a principal trying to cover up a scandal in his own school. Her advisors at Towson questioned her story, and the Dean of Education told her to stop talking about it. She was temporarily removed from the internship during the investigation, but even after it was determined that her allegations were true, she wasn't placed in another student teaching position. Though having Asperger's syndrome was never an issue before, now Towson officials want to investigate whether her disability is affecting her ability to be in an internship.
After the video was posted on Reddit, users starting contacting journalists in Baltimore. So far only one reporter from Fox 45 News has written back to say they're investigating.
At this point there's no way to corroborate the intern's claims, and if she's telling the truth, that adds another disturbing layer to the story. There have been no reports of a teacher hitting students at Thomas Johnson Elementary, meaning that if the woman really was removed from the classroom, officials were able to cover up the story until now.
Thankfully, it seems the disgusting way her advisors are handling the situation hasn't dissuaded her from becoming a teacher. No one should have suggested that Asperger's syndrome made the intern an unreliable witness, but particularly not college professors who know her and are familiar with autism spectrum disorders. Clearly, this young woman already has more bravery and integrity than the educators who are supposed to be supporting her.
Abuse of Children With Autism in School [YouTube]
Girl With Asperger's Studying To Be A Special Ed Teacher Encounters Abuse Of Autistic Children [Reddit]