Share

School Hit with Lawsuit Over Sickening Actions By Cruel Teachers Against Disabled Child

Share

Three Pennsylvania teachers are the focus of a federal lawsuit alleging they engaged in bullying against a fifth-grade student in a conversation inadvertently captured on an answering machine message heard by the girl’s mother.

According to the suit filed by Beth Suhon, her daughter’s teacher called in 2015 to leave a message but failed to disconnect the line before moving on to a cruel private conversation about the disabled student, the New York Post reported.

The teacher and two colleagues at Claysville Elementary School allegedly disparaged the student, mocking her physical appearance and perceived lack of viable career options.

WTAE released the voicemail message, in which one teacher is heard saying that the student’s “teeth are crooked.”



Trending:
'Holiday Nightmare Comes True' When Man Makes Strange Discovery in a Ravine on His Property

According to the lawsuit, the educators also claimed that the student had “no strengths” and no real prospects upon leaving school.

“She could be a good coal miner,” one teacher said.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the student has a developmental disorder known as Turner syndrome.

Suhon said her daughter has repeatedly been the target of bullying by students, noting that the remarks by teachers presented a new challenge.

“It was very difficult for me to tell my child, who has been bullied by her peers for years, that she was now being bullied by her teachers,” she said in an interview with WPVI.

In his court report, special education hearing officer Michael McElligot described the “nearly unfathomable, and frankly heartbreaking” disparagement recorded in the message.

He wrote that the teachers mocked the student’s “mathematics ability, physical appearance, and classroom behavior, punctuating these crass comments with derisive laughter.”

McElligot’s conclusion revealed that the teachers mocked other special-needs students in the recorded remarks.

They engaged in “unconscionable” deprecation of “children who clearly have significant disabilities,” he wrote.

Related:
After Escaping 'House of Horror,' Sisters Describe Outpouring of Support

Suhon’s lawsuit names McGuffey School District for alleged discrimination.

In addition to the comments by the teachers, she also mentions the district’s apparent decision to cancel without notice a special education program that could have benefited her daughter. Without that plan, Suhon argues that the girl — who is now in eighth grade — fell further behind her peers.

McElligott presided over a related complaint earlier this year, ruling against the district based on the evidence presented in the voicemail. He sided with the district, however, in response to Suhon’s claim that it displayed “deliberate indifference” in the decision to suspend the special-needs program.

As of the latest reports available, the district had not publicly responded to the lawsuit.

Immediately following the crude remarks left on her answering machine, the mother said she removed her daughter from the school in favor of online classes. The following school year, she said she “reluctantly” decided to re-enroll her in one of the district’s public schools.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
,
Share
Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a wide range of newsrooms.
Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a variety of newsroom settings. After covering crime and other beats for newspapers and radio stations across the U.S., he served as managing editor at Western Journalism until 2017. He has also been a regular guest and guest host on several syndicated radio programs. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife and son.
Birthplace
Virginia
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Texas Press Association, Best News Writing - 2012
Education
Bachelor of Arts, Journalism - Averett University
Professional Memberships
Online News Association
Location
Arizona
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment




Conversation

Notice: Due to threatened de-monetization, we have temporarily removed commenting while we build a long-term commenting solution that allows you to voice your opinion freely and allows us to continue to publish the news fearlessly and cover topics that you care about. If you would like to personally partner with The Western Journal to help us continue publishing while under relentless assault by Big Tech, please visit our subscription page here. We encourage you to share this article and discuss with your friends.