COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNN) — An Ohio mother was appalled to see video of a teacher dragging her Autistic son to the office by his foot.
The school agreed and is investigating the incident, but she says that’s not enough.
Playing with his toys, 7-year-old Corbin Kemle was the model of a well-behaved boy. Even his mother admits he’s not always so angelic.
“If it’s something out of routine, especially if he’s hungry or tired, he’s real short,” said Corbin’s mother, Bonnie McKean. Sometimes, his outbursts turn physical.
“He will hit, he will kick, scream, he’ll throw things. And then, again, it’s really hard and it’s really a challenge. I know, I’m his mom,” said Bonnie.
Corbin has autism. Bonnie McKean says that requires a calm. measured response, even in his bad moments. She says, “we have to keep ourselves calm. The calmer we are, the quicker it will end. And then once he calms down you can completely reason with him.”
Corbin’s teacher and teacher’s aide are trained in de-escalation techniques specific to him. But that’s not what Bonnie saw in this school security video from May 8th. It shows Corbin defying his teacher and aide as they try to escort him to the office. Then they pick him up, and then his teacher drags him by the foot.
Corbin’s mother was asked what went through her mind when she watched the video. McKean said, “Shock. I just couldn’t catch my breath. My heart broke, and I was mad. I was mad because I trusted these people. I trusted them with him all school year. And I trusted that they wouldn’t hurt my child.”
Crestline Schools Superintendent Noreen Mullens says she was also shocked.
Mullens said, “Carrying a child by their hands and their legs, that’s not appropriate. Dragging a child, not appropriate.” Mullens said, “it can be dangerous to the child. And our primary concern is the safety of the child no matter what.”
She says the only person injured in the ordeal was the teacher’s aide, who got a black eye from Corbin’s head hitting her. But she says that doesn’t change her bottom line.
“It is the same for all students, you don’t touch children, you don’t forcefully move them. It’s just not appropriate,” Mullens said. “Even if they’re being physically defiant.”
She put the teacher and aide on immediate paid leave. Corbin’s mom wants wants them charged criminally.
“They drug my child on his face. That isn’t their child. If I were to do that to him, on the sidewalk or in public, I would be reported for child abuse.”
The county prosecutor reviewed the case and decided it does not meet the bar for child endangerment charges. The village prosecutors will now look at the case and consider pressing misdemeanor charges.