Teacher Arrested For Saying Autistic Student Had 'Trashy' Behavior, Lowering Him Into Trash Can

| by Matiss Batarags
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Mary Katherine Pursley, a special needs teacher at Mt. Bethel Elementary in Marietta, Georgia, was charged with cruelty to children after she allegedly placed an autistic child in a trash can. She reportedly told him his behavior was comparable to Oscar the Grouch’s and then placed him in the garbage.

Cobb Schools Police issued a warrant that stated that an employee at the school saw Pursley hold the second grader upside down above the trash can. She then reportedly lowered him in.

According to 11 Alive, the incident happened during the after school program held at the school. The boy was upset about another student and would not stop screaming. The teacher then told the victim, "If he had trashy behavior like Oscar [the Grouch], he'd go to the trash can," before picking the child up by his legs and lowering him head-first into the trash can, according to the arrest warrant.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that two paraprofessionals and the director of the after school program witnessed the event.  One of them immediately notified administrators and police.

Pursley has been removed from her teaching position and is charged with cruelty to children in the first degree.

The Cobb County school system released this statement: “The District is aware of a teacher charged by police with Cruelty to Child. It is a personnel matter under investigation and no comment can be given. Safety and security of Cobb students continues to be our number one priority. Our attention is on making every remaining day of school for our students safe, healthy, engaging, meaningful and focused on academic excellence."

A spokesperson said that Pursley has worked in the district for 21 years and is on paid administrative leave.

She was released with a $5,000 bond.

Sources: 11 Alive, AJC

Photo Source: AJC