A Michigan school teacher whose cell phone video of a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome struggling to free himself from a chair sparked outrage among parents, educators and advocacy groups both locally and nationally will keep her job.
Nicole McVey reached a deal with the Goodrich school district to keep her job, but she agree to a one-year suspension, the Detroit Free Press reports. The district’s board of education unanimously approved the deal, 6-0.
McVey also apologized in a letter to the boy’s parents. She wrote that she is “truly sorry” for a “very bad series of choices.”
In November, the then 10-year-old boy’s torso became stuck in the back of a chair in his classroom at Oaktree Elementary School. McVey recorded a 53-second video showing him trying to free himself.
On the video, she is heard asking: “How did you get in that situation? Do you want to get Tasered?”
Patrick Greenfelder, a lawyer representing the boy’s family, said McVey and principal Michael Ellis, who has since resigned, taunted the child; that McVey, Ellis and a paraprofessional circulated the video via email; and that McVey showed the video in her classroom.
A bullying liaison at the school sent the video to the superintendent, who shared it with the boy’s parents, who then released it to a local television station in February.
In a letter to Greenfelder, the boy’s mother said watching the video of her son trapped in the chair – a condition they believe may have lasted for 10 or 15 minutes – was “one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.”
“I felt incredibly helpless watching my son sobbing on the screen. … He was pleading for help, and they just continued to watch him and almost taunt him with their lack of compassion.”