Augustin Reynoso is a high-school junior with cerebral palsy. His mother rejected him so he was raised by his grandmother. Confined to a wheelchair, he attends a special needs class at Rio Grande High School in Albuquerque, N.M.
But on September 24, his problems only got worse, when a teacher’s aide became annoyed with some noises that “Auggie” was making. So she pulled out a roll of Scotch tape and taped the boy’s mouth shut.
Another staff member, Pam Hall, witnesses Dolores Lopez taping the boy’s mouth closed. Appalled, she reported what happened to school authorities. Sure enough, Lopez was put on leave for three weeks, one without pay.
Then she was put back into the same classroom with Auggie (pictured). And the staff member who reported her? Well, Pam Hall is learning the hard way that nobody likes a rat, not even educators who caring for the most vulnerable kids.
When Lopez was moved back into the class with the special needs students, Hall was kicked out.
"They said they have the right to move any educational assistant any time if they feel like it's not the right fit. So I was no longer the right fit," Hall said.
She said that she still has personal possessions in that classroom, but Lopez and the class’s teacher won’t let her back in to get them.
Instead, the school’s principal, Yvonne Garcia, sent Hall an e-mail telling her to make a list if her stuff and someone else would go into the classroom and get it for her.
She went to Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Winston Brooks, but he simply refused to believe her story.
“I don't think it's fair that I was the one that was singled out when I reported such a horrible incident,” Hall told KOB TV, who first reported the mouth-taping story. “It's not fair. And I still feel APS needs to apologize to me for giving me no support and for retaliating against me."
She has since applied to be transferred to another school. But that's not what she wants.