Connecticut Family of Autistic Boy Sues Teacher Michelle Campbell for Abusing Special Needs Students
Who is looking out after the children?
There may be only one thing more despicable than a teacher abusing a student, that is a teacher abusing a special needs and autistic child. In Connecticut parents of an autistic special needs student are suing Michelle Campbell of Rocky Hill as well as members of the school board, the school superintendent and the principal of Chamberlain Elementary School for abuse and unreasonable force.
According to the lawsuit, a 6–7 year old autistic child was abused during the 2007–2008 school year in which “Campbell yelled at the boy, crossed his arms tightly around his neck, which prevented him from breathing, and slapped him.”
Prosecutors allege Campbell slapped a child and splashed water in another student’s face. She pleaded not guilty last fall to cruelty and risk of injury charges. She is due back in court next month.
The parents who filed the lawsuit are seeking class-action status and their lawyer says there may be a large number of victims.
The lawsuit accuses Campbell of using unreasonable force, unlawful restraint and physical, psychological and emotional abuse against students dating back to 1999.
Michelle Campbell was arrested in October 2008 on three counts of risk of injury to a minor and four counts of cruelty to persons. However, what makes this case even worse, the teacher was allowed to continue to teach in a classroom with special needs students even after the arrestes.
The incident for which Campbell was arrested involved a special education class with about 10 children in kindergarten through second grade. The lawsuit lists just one plaintiff, who is identified as John Doe, but says there are potentially hundreds of students who may have been victimized by Campbell during the past 10 years.
According to the lawsuit, Doe, who is autistic, was 6 or 7 when the alleged abuse occurred during the 2007-2008 school year. The suit claims that Campbell yelled at the boy, crossed his arms tightly around his neck, which prevented him from breathing, and slapped him.
Another parent of an autistic child learned of the allegations and that Campbell was still working at a school, she brought the incidents to the attention of police.
In December, Campbell was barred from having unsupervised contact with children in the classroom and with any of the alleged victims and must tell any prospective school employer that she has felony charges pending.
Kurtz said at the time that the school district had already imposed restrictions on Campbell by having her in a classroom with another certified teacher.