CABARRUS COUNTY, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) — Disturbing video obtained by FOX 46 shows a special education reading teacher repeatedly kicking one of her students.
“My heart this is my baby,” says Sabrina Berry, the mother of the sixth grader, Garrett Harris, 11, seen on the video.
Berry says she just couldn’t believe it when she saw the shocking surveillance video.
“Furious,” she said. “I can’t curse but I would like to. It pisses you off.”
The incident took place Dec. 4 at Cabarrus Charter Upper School in Concord but is just now coming to light. Berry says she found out about the incident days later, not from the school, but from her son.
“She threw me to the ground and started kicking me,” Garrett told FOX 46.
The video shows the teacher. Helena Hunter, kicking Garrett, who is lying on the floor, helpless, at least twice. He says he was hit between five and 10 times.
“I was just hurting a lot,” he said.
Garrett has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He says he was having trouble with a test and out of frustration, began “touching” his teacher’s hair. A school official says Garrett was pulling Hunter’s hair, screaming and cursing.
“Were you hurting her?,” asked FOX 46 investigative reporter Matt Grant.
“No,” said Garrett.
“You were just touching her hair?,” asked Grant.
“Yes,” said Garrett.
Garrett says his teacher reacted by “throwing” him to the ground, hitting and kicking him. His mom says while inappropriate to touch the teacher, the special education teacher should have been trained to respond without violence.
“When you become a teacher,” said Berry, “there’s a certain temperament you should have.”
She decided to confront the teacher. In a secretly taped recording, Hunter claims she just “guided” Garrett out of the classroom.
“I’m guiding him with his hand, with his arm,” Hunter says on the recording.
Hunter resigned as the school began investigating.
“If an allegation of this nature comes to us we immediately conduct a thorough investigation,” said school spokesperson Colleen Reynolds. “We do not tolerate any form of inappropriate discipline or actions with any of our students.”
“When you send your son to school,” said Berry, “as a parent that’s the one safest place they should be.”
The family has hired the Wooden Bowers law firm and plans to sue the school.
Concord police are investigating Hunter. FOX 46 has learned police plan to arrest her for striking the student.
Cabarrus Charter Upper School Statement:
Our highest priority is the safety and security of our students. Our special education staff is highly trained and deeply committed to the well-being of our special needs population. If an allegation of this nature comes to us, we immediately conduct a thorough investigation. Although we are not at liberty to discuss any personnel issues due to privacy laws, we can tell you that we do not tolerate any form of inappropriate discipline or actions with any of our students. We can say that Ms. Hunter is no longer employed at our school.