After her once happy and loving son became angry and aggressive, a mother trusted her gut and hid a microphone in his backpack. When the principal heard the recording, the boy’s teachers were immediately fired.
When parents send their children to school, they expect their teachers to care for their students like they were their own. That’s why it was particularly horrifying for Milissa Davis, a loving mother, to learn that she had been offering up her child with special needs to his abusers each time she dropped him off for class.
When 12-year-old Camden, who has been diagnosed with severe autism, began exhibiting abnormal behavioral changes, Milissa knew something must have happened to her son. The typically sweet and affectionate boy had become aggressive and began wetting the bed. The intuitive mother suspected that his sudden personality change had to do with school. Since Camden couldn’t communicate what was wrong, Milissa came up with the plan to hide a recording device in the child’s backpack, WBRZ reported.
After Camden came home from school, Milissa listened to what had been recorded that day in his class at Hope Academy in Baton Rouge. What she heard confirmed her fears.
The boy’s two special needs teachers took turns berating, mocking, and abusing Milissa Davis’ mentally disabled son in front of his entire class.
“You’re just writing the word. What is hard about it?” one of the teachers said in a frustrated tone. The boy tried to answer the teacher but his words were unintelligible. The teacher mimicked the child’s response, mocking his inability to speak clearly. She then pushed him further, asking, “Camden, why don’t you have anything written down? That’s why you can’t sit with everyone. Tell your momma that.” A teacher was also heard saying, “Let’s see what they do with him in f—king public school. He was going to go to Live Oak Middle. Uh uh, he wouldn’t make it for a minute.”
Milissa was understandably angry and hurt by what she heard. Knowing she would have a fight ahead of her, she immediately pulled her son out of the school and hired an attorney.
“I just wanted to cry, scream, and do everything I could because it was so bad,” Milissa Davis said. “To think that I had sent my son there every day, and what had happened before, that I didn’t know about.”
After Milissa released the recording to the public, the school acted quickly by firing the two teachers and publishing a statement, according to KTBS.
“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,” Hope Academy Principal Linda Stone wrote. “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.”
Although the principal alleged that the school was completely unaware of the situation, attorney Charlotte McGehee says her client had repeatedly brought her concerns to them only to be ignored.
“She already had issues,” McGehee said. “‘I would like to address where my son is seated, that my son has had a behavior change.’ None of those issues were addressed prior to her going and getting the evidence of abuse that was going on with her child.”
Milissa has since transferred Camden to a different school. However, she hopes that the Department of Education will implement a better protocol at Hope Academy to ensure that students, especially special needs children, are protected.
After the transfer, Camden was reportedly doing well at his new school but still having residual effects from the abuse that occurred at his old school. Only time will tell if he can fully overcome the trauma inflicted by the verbal and psychological abuse.
Parents should be able to trust that their vulnerable children will not be abused by the educators that care for them. Disturbingly, these dangers are becoming more commonplace in the education system, making alternative schooling more appealing each day.