School Staffers Forced Student With Disability To Eat Own Vomit, Police Say
Five staffers at an elementary school are facing criminal charges after police say a video showed them forcing a 7-year-old student with a disability to eat his own vomit.
According to a news release from the Brownsburg Police Department, investigators were contacted by police from Brown Elementary School in Brownsburg, Ind. on April 12 about the incident, which occurred in February.
Police say the video shows the student stand up and appear to gag while eating during lunch period. Sara Seymour, a 27-year-old life skills teacher at the school, appears to order the student to sit down, police say. Seymour is accused of telling the boy that if he vomited, he would be forced to eat it.
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Moments later, the child vomits onto a tray being held by life skills teacher Julie Taylor, 48, police say, with Seymour standing to the boy’s left and life skills instructional aide Debra Kanipe, 63, to the right. Kanipe is accused of giving the boy a spoon and he’s forced to eat some of the vomit, police say.
The boy was then given paper towels and forced to clean up the remaining vomit, police say. Life skills instructional aide Kristen Mitchell, 38, and registered behavioral technician Megan King, 24, were standing nearby when the incident occurred, according to police. King is an employee of a third-party contractor, Kids Count.
All of the staffers have been placed on administrative leave by the Brownsburg Community School Corp. The school board is in the process of terminating Seymour and Kanipe, according to the news release.
“This horrendous action is not in line with the character of staff and teachers at Brownsburg Schools,” the school district said in a statement, according to Fox 59. “The shocking actions of a few does not define the care and concern that Brownsburg teachers and staff show every day.”
Seymour and Kanipe each have been charged with neglect of a dependent, a felony, and failure to report, a misdemeanor, police say. Taylor, Mitchell and King all have been charged with failure to report.
Brownsburg is a suburb of Indianapolis.
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