Teacher disciplined for spraying water on student

March 22, 2012 3:42:13 AM PDT
The parents of a Deer Park student say their son was mistreated by a teacher at school, and the district isn't doing enough to protect their child.

While it was business as usual at Fairmont Junior High Wednesday evening, not too far away, in the Graham household, it's far from normal.

"It's tough," Kevin Graham said. "Trust was violated in the most horrific way."

Kevin and Sheri Graham are still reeling from a Monday night decision by Deer Park ISD's Board of Education. But their story starts months earlier when a teacher's aide came to them with disturbing allegations against their son's teacher at Fairmont Junior High. The 13-year-old has autism and is non-verbal.

"He along with two other children had been mocked, taunted, made to sit in time out most of the school day. She threw towels at him, made me him fold the towels and then she'd mess them and just throw them back at him, and then sat and sprayed him in the face with water," Sheri Graham said.

The Grahams filed complaints at every level. The teacher and her supervisor, who was accused of not doing anything about it, were transferred to other schools and Monday night, the board ruled against firing them. In fact, according to the district, an investigation found only "an unapproved technique" and ruled it an isolated incident.

The Grahams are baffled.

"At the minimum, suspend them with pay. Don't let them serve the kids," Kevin Graham said.

But Jesse Mace believes the board did the right thing.

"My wife did nothing wrong," he said. "There was nothing done to those kids."

His wife, Robin Mace, is a 25-year veteran of the district and the supervisor accused of turning the other cheek. He also works for Deer Park ISD, teaching physical education to special needs students.

"If anybody looked at the evidence that the district gathered, they would come to the same conclusion the district did," Jesse Mace said.

Though his wife wasn't fired, she was demoted and has instead decided to retire, as did the teacher, who in just her second year, could still have a long career ahead of her.

"These teachers are not deserving to leave this district with a clean record," Kevin Graham said.

The Grahams say they are appealing the school board's decision to the state commissioner of education. They say they've already started that process.

Jesse Mace says his wife's retirement is something they'd already been planning a long time.

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