DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan teacher humiliated a student with Asperger's syndrome by videotaping him after he became wedged in a chair and showing the footage to his fifth-grade class and her colleagues, the school's superintendent wrote in a letter obtained Friday by The Associated Press.
Goodrich Area Schools Superintendent Scott Bogner sent the letter to the school board to summarize his investigation into what happened Nov. 22 in teacher Nicole McVey's classroom at Oaktree Elementary School. The letter reveals for the first time that McVey was holding the recording device, suggested the video be sent to a national television show, and continued showing it to colleagues after several told her it was inappropriate.
Bogner wrote that once the boy became stuck, McVey "castigated" him and "refused to allow another adult to help him."
The video shows the child with his chest resting on the seat and his head and arms protruding through an opening in the back. According to the letter, McVey took photos with her camera and borrowed a staffer's smartphone to record video, announcing "it would be funny" to have the footage for "America's Funniest Home Videos."
Maintenance workers eventually freed the boy, who was stuck for about 10 minutes. When the class reconvened, McVey played the video on a large-screen television for all the students — including the boy, Bogner said.
"It was particularly callous for Ms. McVey to force (the student) to be present while others laughed at his predicament," Bogner wrote, adding that McVey later showed the video to fellow teachers and staff members.
Messages seeking comment were left Friday with McVey's lawyer, William Young, who wrote in a filing that his client "did not take the video of the student for malicious purposes."
In the letter, sent to the school board in January, Bogner recommended that McVey be fired.
"Teachers are not to humiliate and ridicule students, particularly special-needs students," he wrote.
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