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Wood County teacher under investigation for allegedly yelling at a student with Autism

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 5:49 PM EDT
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WOOD COUNTY, W.Va. (WTAP) -A Wood County student with autism is finally back to school following an incident where his mother says a teacher verbally mistreated him.

“I never thought this would happen to me and it happened,” said Hope Wigal.

What happened to Wigal was that her 13-year-old son Gavin, who has nonverbal autism, was allegedly yelled at by a teacher at Blennerhassett Middle School. Wigal shared a video with WTAP where a teacher can be seen allegedly yelling at Gavin while he sits on the floor.

The incident took place earlier this month and Wigal says a classmate of her son took the video. Wigal says nobody at the school contacted her about this incident.

“If it wasn’t for this parent videotaping the incident I would have never found out. Nothing would have ever been done because it would have just kept on happening,” Wigal said.

After speaking with school officials, Wigal says she saw security footage the school took of the incident. The footage allegedly shows Gavin running around a classroom, removing a calendar off a wall and swatting at a teacher. Wigal says her son never made contact with the teacher and that he often swats his arms whenever he is in distress or wants someone to stop something. Wigal says she didn’t feel comfortable sending Gavin back to school until the teacher and the TA were put on leave, which was today.

“The main thing for me is justice for my son. And that means I want whoever was responsible who was in the classroom at that time that the footage was taken...I want them to never work in a school ever again because apparently, they can’t work in a school with kids with special needs if they are going to treat and not have patients with kids like my son,” Wigal said.

Wigal says she will not be pressing any charges and will instead let the Wood County Board of Education conduct its investigation.

Wood County Schools stated in a release that, “Wood County Schools was made aware last week of an incident at Blennerhassett Middle School. Officials are investigating the situation, but cannot comment on individual employees or students. Wood County Schools’ number one priority is the safety and health of its students, and officials will take appropriate action once the investigation is complete.”

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