Posted on 9th Mar 2012 @ 12:08 PM
When reports and stories started to surface that two special needs students were being abused in the classroom, people couldn’t believe it. So, as part of their investigation, school police used hidden cameras to see if they could find any signs of abuse or mistreatment in the school. And sure enough, the hidden cameras captured footage of a teacher's aide roughly handling two special needs students in their classroom, according to the report which was released on Wednesday.
The teacher’s aide’s name is Lachelle James, but she is also known to go by Lachelle or Michelle McCraney. She was arrested this past Tuesday on five counts of child abuse and one count of battery after detectives working for the Clark County School District watched the recorded footage of the abuse on hidden cameras.
28 year old Lachelle James is being held at the Clark County Detention Center without bail. The arrest report includes with it a highly detailed description of the events of abuse as they transpired at the Variety School for the handicapped.
The investigating detectives installed several hidden surveillance cameras in James’ classroom late Friday night after receiving reports that the aide was allegedly abusing a student. According to the report, the special needs students in that classroom were described as “non-verbal,” meaning that they lacked the capacity to speak and to write. So if there was any kind of abuse going on, it would have been very difficult for any one of them to speak up against it and contact authorities.
The detectives watched the video carefully, and did not see the first student on the video being abused by James. Everything appeared normal. However, it was when James began to interact with another two students that the investigating detectives saw the abuse happening.
On a recording made Tuesday morning, one of the students was rolling around on the ground and flailing his arms. According to the report, James grabbed the boy and dragged him to the center of the room in response. While the boy was facedown, James placed a knee into his back until he stopped moving, the report said. She got up, and the boy crawled under a table.
James pinned the boy in a similar manner an additional four times. For the last pin, James put her elbow in the boy’s face while simultaneously pulling his arm towards her for 10 seconds. All of these events were recorded by the hidden cameras and left in the report.
The boy walked across the room and climbed into a padded chair, likely out of fear. A few moments after the first child was abused, the report says that James shoved another boy, grabbed his face with both hands from behind, and then pinned him against the cabinets in the classroom.
School staff members are trained in various restraining techniques to detain a violent or combative student who may be endangering others. Detectives investigated this further by discussing those techniques and situations with other staff members, who said that James’ actions were wrong.
During her arrest, James claimed that the first student she forcibly restrained was trying to attack her. Police noted that the boy was not attacking, but only trying to escape while he was pinned down. District authorities suspended James without pay and will fire her upon approval from an arbitrator, a district spokeswoman said.