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A special education teacher at Gonzales Community School has been placed on administrative leave after police say she dragged a blind, 6-year-old, special-needs student down a school hallway.
Santa Fe police said the teacher told investigators the boy had been uncooperative with her requests that he walk to another classroom. She grabbed the boy by the ankle and began dragging him down a long hall to the other room.
The incident occurred Nov. 15, and police were notified a week later by school staff. Staff had made the boy’s parents aware shortly after the incident, according to Sgt. Andrea Dobyns, and the family didn’t report it to police.
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The teacher, Dobyns said, told investigators that she wasn’t trying to harm the boy by dragging him to another classroom. Dobyns said the act, no matter the intent, was negligent.
“If you’re dragging a kid down a hallway, you are clearly neglecting their safety,” Dobyns said.
Dobyns said the case will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office, and the teacher could face a child-abuse charge.
The boy complained to a school nurse that his head hurt after the incident, Dobyns said, but he required no medical attention.
A video released to reporters Friday shows the teacher holding the boy’s left leg while he was flat on his back. Halfway down the hall, the teacher stopped pulling him and requested help from another woman in the hall. Both of the women then began pulling the boy down the hall.
According to Dobyns, the other woman was a contract employee in the Special Education Department within the school and hasn’t cooperated with the police investigation.
The video also shows a man holding the boy’s walking cane while observing the scene, along with at least one other child. Dobyns said witnesses to the incident could face misdemeanor charges for failing to report the incident.
Santa Fe Public School Chief of Staff Latifah Phillips said an internal investigation will determine what, if any, disciplinary action is warranted against the teacher.
“The administration was informed of allegations of misconduct on the part of a district employee and immediately placed the employee on administrative leave pending the results of an investigation,” Phillips said. “The district has an absolute obligation to remain confidential with regard to personnel and student matters and cannot comment further about the employee or the investigation.”
Police did not identify the teacher because she has not been criminally charged.
Dobyns did say the boy’s family didn’t want to press criminal charges against the teacher after being told about the incident by the school.