MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — In the days following media attention regarding an alleged abuse allegation at an elementary school, the Berkeley County Board of Education announced a special meeting Thursday.
Two special education aides have submitted letters of resignation. They were initially placed on paid administrative leave.
In November, parent Amber Pack submitted an audio recording to MetroNews affiliate WEPM. Pack placed an audio recording device in her daughter Adri’s hair before she left for Berkeley Heights Elementary School.
During the portion of the approximately eight hours of tape sent to WEPM, two adults can be heard in a room with six-year old Adri, who has special needs and is nonverbal. Another student with special needs, Owen, is referenced multiple times as also being in the room.
“I oughta punch you in the face,” one aide says as Adri cries.
Some of the other statements that can be heard on the tape include:
“She needs something to calm her before I go nuts.”
“I ought to backhand you in your teeth, how’s that for anxiety?”
“You break my skin with your nasty teeth, I’m going to be p*****.”
According to Berkeley County Prosecutor Catie Wilkes Delligatti’s office, verbal abuse of a minor is not illegal under West Virginia law. Berkeley County Schools released a notice of the meeting late Tuesday.
— Mike McCullough (@MikeMcC_MN) February 13, 2019
A previous statement from Berkeley County Schools indicates multiple agencies are involved in the investigation.
“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 Spokesperson
According to the Facebook page “#JusticeForAdri Protests”, two events are planned for Thursday. The first will begin at 11 am at the Martinsburg Town Square. Several in the Facebook group indicated they would attend Thursday’s meeting.
WEPM will cover Thursday’s meeting and provide updates as they become available.