The mother of a 5-year-old kindergartner with Asperger’s syndrome filed a police report alleging child abuse after witnesses saw a Chilhowee School bus driver -- aided by the school principal -- restrain her son’s hands with duct tape two weeks ago.
According to KSHB, the mother of the boy said another parent told her the school bus left the small Missouri school Sept. 25, but returned after her son had an outburst, prompting the use of duct tape for restraint.
WDAF reports that fellow parent Linda Lujan said the same bus driver also threatened to duct tape the mouth of Connor, her 7-yer-old son with autism. At the time, Connor was buckled in a special harness while kicking the back of the driver’s seat, yelling to get off the bus. While Connor avoided duct tape restraint, the driver allegedly used the tape to bind the hands of another student with special needs a few days later.
Chilhowee School District Superintendent Jeff Blackford declined to comment to KSHB about whether those involved in restraining the boy had been removed from duty, but did issue a statement.
“The District takes allegations of misconduct very seriously and investigates each such allegation thoroughly," he said. "One of the District’s primary goals is to protect the safety and welfare of its students. We hold all our staff members to very high standards, and we expect our staff to appropriately supervise and manage students at all times.”
The allegations remain under investigation by the sheriff's office and the school district. Meanwhile, the family is reportedly conducting its own investigation and is planning to pursue legal action.
Last month, a fourth grader at J. Wallace James Elementary School in Louisiana had his mouth duct taped shut by a substitute teacher who wanted to stop him from talking in class. His mother, Michelle Droddy, intends to pursue criminal action against the school district and the teacher.
School reformer and former Washington, D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee has also previously admitted to using small pieces of masking tape to quiet a noisy cafeteria during her early years as an educator.