Two Educators Fired After Mocking Autistic Student

By RJ Johnson - @rickerthewriter

April 11, 2018

Two Educators Recorded Mocking Autistic Student Fired

One person has been fired and another will be let go at the end of the school year after they were caught on tape mocking an autistic student at Hope Academy in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

The child's mother, Milissa Davis, shared the audio on her Facebook page after she placed a recording device into her son's bookbag. She says she formulated the plan after her 12-year-old son became aggressive, and began wetting the bed. Her child suffers from severe autism. 

I started seeing changes in Camden’s behavior over the course of time and noticed a significant decline. He started wetting the bed again and had increased anxiety. The separation anxiety became increasingly worse. I was suspicious of something going on at school so I decided to send a recorder in his book sack. I couldn’t believe my ears. 

In the recording, two adults who have been identified as the teacher and a teacher's aide, are heard mocking the autistic student and talking about him 

ADULT: "You're just writing the word. What is hard about it?" 

STUDENT: grunting noise.  

ADULT: mocks noise     

ADULT: "Camden, why don't you have anything written down? That's why you can't sit with everyone. Tell your momma that."      

ADULT: "Let's see what they do with him in f****** public school. He was going to go to Live Oak Middle. Uh ah, he wouldn't make it for a minute."

According to their website, Hope Academy is a secular school specializing in teaching students who have learning disabilities, or are on the autism spectrum. They also work with students who have issues like Aspergers, ADHD, down syndrome, cognitive disabilities, and dyslexia. 

Davis writes that after the incident, she pulled her son out of the school, saying her son is still struggling. 

Although Camden no longer goes to this school as I pulled him out after I heard this he continues to struggle emotionally with the trauma of events. This is just one recording I have hours of recordings. I can only imagine how many days I unknowingly sent my child to school and trusted educators not only to teach my child but to love him as well and yet he was suffering at their mercy.

Hope Academy Principal, Linda Stone released the following statement: 

"For the last 11 years, Hope Academy has been dedicated to the education of students with special needs. We provide a vital resource to this community. And we do it at cost and with teachers and administrators who are dedicated to special needs children.

On March 23, 2018, a recording posted to social media was brought to our attention. Apparently, a parent sent a student to school with a recording device in his/her backpack. The recording appears to be a compilation of audio clips, many of which involve private conversations between two adults with no other persons/children present. The recording contains regretful conversations between these adults.

The parent never brought the recording to the attention of Hope Academy before posting it to social media.  The parent has also refused to meet with Hope Academy to discuss the actions we have taken to address the issue. The persons involved in the communications are either no longer with the school or will no longer be with the school after this semester.

Over these many years, Hope Academy has built a strong reputation for competently serving the educational needs of the special needs community. These recordings are not an indication of who we are. We ask that the community not let the actions of two persons reflect on the reputation of and the mission of our school-a mission we have tried so hard to build. We again extend an invitation to meet with the parent involved to discuss this incident further."

You can listen to the audio recording Davis made below.

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