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Woman Still Teaching Children

BOSTON -- Parents and co-workers said that a teacher was abusing autistic children in her care.

NewsCenter 5's Bianca de la Garza reported exclusively that while no charges have been filed, they wonder why she's still in the classroom.

Aides Accuse Teacher Of Abusing Autistic Students

Classroom aides AnneMarie Grant and Mary Ericson recounted what they saw while working in teacher Ann Gibbons' Randolph classroom last winter.

"I couldn't sleep. I was sick," Grant said.

"I've witnessed it. I know she did these things to children," Ericson said.

The alleged victims are six non-verbal autistic students who attended the South Shore Collaborative School.

"If they were non-compliant, as she says, she would go and grab them. Put them into a restraint. 'I'm bigger. I'm badder, and I'm stronger than you.' Hello? You don't say that to a kid," Ericson said.

"He started to go back into her stomach with his head, and she put her fist up, and when he came back again, she punched him -- the back of his head. Two days later he was doing the same behavior, and she said, 'Be careful, you might find a fist behind his head,'" Grant said.

Besides autism, the students had other special needs, such as cystic fibrosis and obsessive compulsive disorder, which the aides said Gibbons preyed on.

Grant, Ericson and a third aide reported the incidents to the school. The State Department of Child Services and Randolph police began investigating.

"I was alarmed. I was frantic," parent Linda Auger said.

Looking back, parents who spoke with NewsCenter 5 said there were red flags they wish they had documented.

"He had some bruising on his arms," Auger said.

"When we brought him home he was limping on his leg. By the end of his day he couldn't put any weight on it," another parent said.

NewsCenter 5 wanted to ask Gibbons about the allegations, but she did not want to speak when approached at her Middleboro home.

Police have also not spoken about the allegations. Despite repeated phone calls to the detective handling the case and messages to the police chief, they made no comment to NewsCenter 5.

A Department of Children Services investigation did not find reasonable cause to support the abuse.

"We have a bunch of kids who are non verbal. I think if Sean could talk they'd have enough proof to go forward," another parent said

All six parents eventually pulled their children out of Gibbons' class.

Gibbons is still teaching, in a different class, with different children. There was no comment from school administrators, who referred NewsCenter 5 to their lawyers.

"I want her out of classroom. I think someone is going to get hurt," another parent said.

http://www.thebostonchannel.com/education/17740036/detail.html
 
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