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Teacher Who Circulated Video of Boy with Asperger’s Stuck in Chair Keeps Job

Nicole Vey will be suspended for a year, but she will keep her job in a settlement reached with a Michigan school district.

This screenshot of the video, which has been posted on YouTube, reportedly shot by a Michigan teacher shows a 10-year-old boy with autism wiping tears as he tried to free himself from a classroom chair.
This screenshot of the video, which has been posted on YouTube, reportedly shot by a Michigan teacher shows a 10-year-old boy with autism wiping tears as he tried to free himself from a classroom chair.

A Michigan school teacher whose cell phone video of a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome struggling to free himself from a chair sparked outrage among parents, educators and advocacy groups both locally and nationally will keep her job.

Nicole McVey reached a deal with the Goodrich school district to keep her job, but she agree to a one-year suspension, the Detroit Free Press reports. The district’s board of education unanimously approved the deal, 6-0.

McVey also apologized in a letter to the boy’s parents. She wrote that she is “truly sorry” for a “very bad series of choices.”

In November, the then 10-year-old boy’s torso became stuck in the back of a chair in his classroom at Oaktree Elementary School. McVey recorded a 53-second video showing him trying to free himself.

On the video, she is heard asking: “How did you get in that situation? Do you want to get Tasered?”

Patrick Greenfelder, a lawyer representing the boy’s family, said McVey and principal Michael Ellis, who has since resigned, taunted the child; that McVey, Ellis and a paraprofessional circulated the video via email; and that McVey showed the video in her classroom.

A bullying liaison at the school sent the video to the superintendent, who shared it with the boy’s parents, who then released it to a local television station in February.

In a letter to Greenfelder,  the boy’s mother said watching the video of her son trapped in the chair – a condition they believe may have lasted for 10 or 15 minutes – was “one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.”

“I felt incredibly helpless watching my son sobbing on the screen. … He was pleading for help, and they just continued to watch him and almost taunt him with their lack of compassion.”

Kimber Bishop-Yanke May 24, 2014 at 07:48 AM
This woman should never be allowed to work with children again. What kind of laws are in place to be able to force a school district to let this woman have her job back.

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