Berkeley County BOE accepts resignations of teacher aides tied to alleged verbal abuse

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A special Berkeley County Board of Education meeting Thursday ended with the board accepting the resignations of two special education aides connected to abuse allegations.

The board passed the motion 4-1 to accept the resignations along with attaching the circumstances of the situation to the permanent records of Kristin Douty and June Yurish.

This stems from a parent, Amber Pack, who placed an audio recording device in her daughter Adri’s hair last November, and discovered evidence of extreme verbal abuse while attending Berkeley Heights Elementary School.

Both Douty and Yurish were placed on paid administrative leave after the audio was released to the media. A group of parents, relatives, and community members were in attendance to show support and voice displeasure to the board.

Parent Teresa Chapman said she was concerned about the aides working with children elsewhere.

“The thing that infuriates me the most is that they’re going to be allowed to get jobs with other children,” she said. “God knows what they would do next with other kids.”

Before a decision was made last night, the board listened to public comment but did so behind closed doors in an executive session.

Pack told MetroNews affiliate WEPM she asked the board to put letters of reprimand in the files of the employees so they will not get to work with children again. She also called for security measures in schools to be improved via cameras.

“I hope that if that my child comes home with a bruise, I can say where did this bruise come from,” she said. “Instead of them saying they fell out of a chair, there’s proof. There’s a camera that shows what happened.”

Pack also indicated that having video from the day of the audio recording would have helped further clarify what happened between the two aides and her daughter.

“On the audio recording that I put in her hair, it sounds as though she’s been struck multiple times throughout the day. I can’t prove it because it’s audio, but in my heart I know they did.”

The executive session lasted almost 90 minutes before the board re-entered the chamber to make their decision official. Board member Michelle Barnes-Russel was the lone nay vote on the motion to accept the resignation.

When the meeting adjourned, she and other board members declined to comment.

Pack recently selected Charleston Attorney Ben Salango to represent them.

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