February 16, 2015

stop abuseEarlier this month  we reported on the story of Kimberly Taylor,  a New York school principal who was caught on tape calling students with special needs ‘animals‘ and ‘retards.‘   The article contains a report published on the abc 7 New York news channel that contains abusive and offensive language that is disturbing.

While writing the above article, I found it very hard to write subjectively and neutrally, as the mother to a child who is autistic, or actually come to think of it, as a mother full stop. So here are my views that I feel I can now talk about, although I find it difficult to do so as the story is so very disturbing.

Firstly, why has this principal, who has quite clearly subjected her students to verbal abuse, bullying and who has shown no compassion or care towards these children, been allowed to keep her job?

Secondly why has the teaching assistant, Mr Egan, who reported her behaviour to the school authority, along with evidence gained on audio tape been fired? I cannot understand what is going on here. Does this principal hold some kind of power, some kind of hold over the local education authority? Surely she should be removed from the school and never be allowed to teach children ever again. They have evidence of what she has done, and who knows what else she has done that has not been caught on tape. That’s the frightening thing here.

So the message that this school is sending out is that it is ok for teachers or for anyone in a position of power and authority to verbally abuse children. It does not matter.

Principal Kimberly Taylor  - screenshot taken from abc 7 New York
Principal Kimberly Taylor – screenshot taken from abc 7 New York

Then the second matter is that if you witness this kind of abuse and then report it with clear and documented  evidence, then you will loose your job. This is ludicrous. This man should be applauded for his actions. He is a whistleblower, thinking of the rights of these children. He had the strength to do this, and to talk openly about what has gone on, but then he is punished for doing so.

I am livid with rage. How dare she talk to children like she did. How dare she keep her job.

I feel incredibly emotional for those children who were subjected to this kind of abuse. When your child is at school you assume that they are safe, cared for and treated with dignity and respect, which is the human right of every individual. I feel for the parents too. What must they be going through? They trusted this woman. They trusted this school. They trusted them to keep their children safe and now this trust has been broken.

This happened in the United States, I am based in the UK but this story still profoundly effects me.

This could happen anywhere.

Children with any additional need are vulnerable. They cannot often vocalise what has happened to them. This is what is truly frightening.

This so called teacher needs to go. She should never be allowed to work with children ever again. No one knows what damage she has done to these children. She is accountable for her actions and the truth must come out. In respect to these children and their families.

Your comments are welcome below.

About the author 

Jo Worgan

Jo Worgan is a published author, writer and blogger. She has a degree in English Literature. She writes about life with her youngest son who is on the autistic spectrum. Jo is also a freelance columnist for the Lancaster Guardian. ‘My Life with Tom, Living With Autism‘ is her second book and a culmination of her blog posts, and available on Kindle now, along with her first book, Life on the Spectrum. The Preschool years.


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