Officials: Abuse allegations at Berkeley County elementary school still under investigation

Update 2.8.19:

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — An update from Berkeley County Schools has been released following continued concern over an alleged abuse case at Berkeley Heights Elementary.

The Friday statement indicates the teacher involved has resigned and the other remains on administrative leave.

“Berkeley County Schools will not tolerate any action or inaction that impacts the health, welfare and safety of our students. The employees involved in the Berkeley Heights incident were placed on administrative leave since the allegations surfaced and the teacher has since resigned.

We’re conducting an internal investigation and are cooperating fully with the investigation by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Child Protective Services. State and federal privacy laws prohibit Berkeley County Schools from providing any additional information at this time.”

Berkeley County Schools Prosecuting Attorney Catie Wilkes Delligetti’s office also provided a new statement Friday.

“Ms. Delligatti echoes the concerns of Berkeley County citizens regarding the treatment of these children and has reached out both to the West Virginia Department of Education and the Berkeley County Board of Education to urge the appropriate parties to take action regarding the mistreatment of these children, and will lend any support her office can provide to the investigations opened by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Child Protective Services and the Civil Rights Office of the U.S. Department of Education.” 

Updates as they become available. 

Original 11.8.2019:

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Two school employees are on administrative leave following accusations of abuse involving children with special needs at a Berkeley County elementary school.

Martinsburg Police Chief Maury Richards has confirmed to MetroNews affiliate WEPM that his department responded to the school on October 5, but they are not currently involved in the investigation. Officers received a complaint from the parent of a six year-old saying her child was being harassed by members of the school’s staff.

“After carefully reviewing all evidence available at the time, the police were unable to determine the elements of a criminal offense. An MPD officer immediately visited Berkeley
Heights Elementary School and personally notified the school administration of the allegation.

If evidence of a criminal incident arises either from the current third-party investigation
being conducted by the Berkeley County Schools or other sources, the Martinsburg Police Department
will respond accordingly.” 

Berkeley County Schools also released a statement to WEPM in regard to the incident.

“Upon notification, the Offices of Special Education and Human Resources began working immediately to address the parental concerns. The allegations made against those involved are being reviewed by a third-party investigator.”

Multiple parents, who wish to remain anonymous, have contacted WEPM about a recording on social media. The recording allegedly depicts a student with special needs being verbally threatened.

One parent said their child was in the room where the alleged events on the recording took place. The parent indicated the incident was reported to the school’s administration immediately after it was discovered.

“My son was threatened, hit, called names and made fun of,” the parent said. “He no longer is enrolled in the school, I pulled him out. There needs to be justice for this child and the staff needs to be held accountable for their actions.”

Berkeley County Schools confirmed Thursday two school employees have been placed on administrative leave as the investigation continues.

“The health and well-being of all students is crucial to their education and personal development, and such allegations are taken very seriously.”

This story will be updated.

WEPM’s Marsha Chwalik contributed to this story. 

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