Child With Special Needs Disciplined In Dark Bathroom

| by Reve Fisher
Hariett Chandler's Daughter Playing With A DollHariett Chandler's Daughter Playing With A Doll

A paraprofessional in Georgia has been fired after disciplining a child with special needs in a dark bathroom with the doors closed.

The school is investigating events surrounding the alleged abuse by a school paraprofessional, Tiffany Bonilla, reports WXIA.

At Welch Elementary School in Newnan, Georgia, Bonilla allegedly disciplined a 4-year-old girl with special needs by placing her in a dark bathroom and telling her she would need to stay with "the monsters" until she behaved.

Coweta County School District stated the same type of action occurred on at least two occasions, on March 4 and March 7. The school did not notify the district until March 11.

Harriet Chandler, the girl's mother, claims the principal, a special education teacher and school nurse were all aware of the incident and gave the paraprofessional a warning. Newnan Police Officer Ricky Tostenson reported that Chandler is supposed to be notified before any discipline occurs, because her daughter has special needs, according to The Newnan Times-Herald.

"If they could rewind time, which I know they can’t, and give me that phone call, so I could start talking to my child and see what’s really going on so we could get some help immediately," Chandler told WXIA.

The district is investigating tto determine if any policies were violated by not reporting the situation or informing the child’s mother sooner.

Chandler said she was not notified until after the investigation had begun. She said she had a feeling something was wrong, as her daughter was misbehaving to avoid going to school, urinating on herself on the school bus and having nightmares.

The school district released a statement to inform parents of the investigation.

"The treatment of any student in this manner in unacceptable,” the statement read. “The paraprofessional is no longer employed by the school system … The school system notified the Department of Family and Children Services, and law enforcement is also involved."

The paraprofessional had worked in the school district since August 2015.

Chandler has also filed a police report to charge Bonilla with child cruelty. Because the paraprofessional is not a certified teacher, there would be no public record to inform other school districts of the incident.

"I think she should never, ever, be able to work in this particular field again," she said.

Sources: WXIA, The Newnan Times-Herald / Photo credit: WXIA

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