Sharon Kosko, a teacher’s aide at the Penn-Trafford School District in Penn Township, Pennsylvania, has been removed by officials following a violent attack on a special education student. Penn Township police filed a criminal complaint.
Kosko allegedly threw a shoe at 12-year-old Sarah Carl and then dragged her across the room. Sarah had taken off both shoes and thrown them at Kosko, who retaliated by throwing a shoe back that hit the girl near the face.
According to the school principal, the student “was having a bad day.” During a tantrum she removed her shoes and threw them at Kosko. The incident occurred on Feb. 10 and police said there were multiple witnesses.
The police complaint read, “Through further investigation, it was learned that Kosko had also pulled the victim across the floor approximately 5 feet while the victim was lying on the carpet floor causing a brush burn to the victim's back; the victim was agitated and not listening to Kosko.”
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Penn Township police Chief John Otto said, “We do have several witnesses that came forward and participated in the investigation. They gave us the facts and circumstances as they observed them and truly helped tie this case together.”
Sarah has spina bifida, epilepsy and microcephaly. According to her mother, Stacey Carl, Sarah has developmental delays and cannot speak or write. She said that her daughter will occasionally have meltdowns due to these problems.
Stacey said: “She'll throw herself to the ground and basically hide behind everybody. She has no way of expressing what's going on. She has these meltdowns and throws herself to the floor and you basically let it ride out.”
The parents were notified of the incident on Feb. 11. Sam Carl, Sarah’s father, said: “That's one place everybody should always feel safe, at school. I shouldn't have to inspect my kid every time she comes home from school."
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Sarah’s parents have struggled with finding the right educational approach for her. Her father said that they have joint meetings with new and old teachers to find the best situation for their daughter.
According to police, Kosko, 59, was charged with a misdemeanor count of simple assault and a summary harassment charge.
Penn-Trafford Superintendent Dr. Matt Harris released a statement:
"The Penn-Trafford School District Administration wants to make you aware of a recent incident involving the actions of a District paraprofessional who was charged by Penn Township Police for simple assault and harassment of a student at Penn Middle School. Based upon the confidential nature of such matters, including the identity of the student and the district employee involved, the Board of School Directors and Administration cannot comment as to any specifics.
"Notwithstanding the confidentiality of information which must be preserved in such instances, the Board and Administration have been advised by the District Solicitor that they are permitted to advise Penn-Trafford students and parents that immediate formal action was taken to remove the involved individual from having any further interaction or contact with students while Administration investigated this occurrence. Please be advised that all appropriate steps have been taken to bring this matter to final resolution so as to prevent any such conduct in the future. The Penn-Trafford School District Board of School Directors and Administration place the safety and welfare of its students ahead of all other interests, and will continue to take all necessary action to safeguard the physical, emotional and educational well-being of all students."
Sources: WTAE / Photo Source: WTAE