Last month, I posted a story about how 28-year-old Kasey Marie Brooks (below) beat up her son’s 61-year-old preschool teacher June Barrow at St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church in Grovetown, Georgia after allegedly seeing video of Barrow assaulting her non-verbal two-year-old son. Barrow suffered bite marks and a swollen face.
There was video of Brooks attacking the teacher, but after people heard her explanation for why she felt such rage, they seemed to overwhelmingly support her. A GoFundMe page raising money for her legal costs reached over $42,000.
That GoFundMe page also included Brooks’ side of the story:
… For 3 hours I watched his teacher spank him, hit him in the head, slap him with a book, shove him to the ground, snatch him up by one arm and carry him across the room multiple times, slam him in his seat to make him eat lunch alone in time-out, pick him up by his ankles and hold him on his neck/head, grab his face so hard his cheeks were touching in his mouth as she was nose to nose with him, amongst other things. The daycare director dismissed her employee’s actions and ensured me she would be keeping her job…
About a week after the incident occurred, the District Attorney’s office said it would not be filing charges against Barrow. They said they reviewed the video evidence and “concluded that no crime occurred.” That was based on four days’ worth of surveillance videos of Barrow and the children before the attack. The church also told parishioners that Barrow was cleared of any wrongdoing; she’s now back in the classroom.
All of that left some important questions up in the air: Did Barrow assault the child as described by Brooks? Was there some kind of bizarre cover-up? Would we ever get to see the videos for ourselves?
Incredibly, the answer to that last question is yes.
The Augusta Press says that the surveillance videos were released due to a “huge public demand” for them. The other children in the footage are blurred out, but we’re able to see for ourselves what happened in the classroom. While the news outlet has longer videos, here’s a collection of the most important moments. (Consider that a warning.)
To my untrained eye, while there are moments when the teacher is seen spanking the kid, hitting him with a book, or handling him like a rag doll, I don’t know if it qualifies as legal abuse. (It quite literally doesn’t matter what I think.) Keep in mind, though, that this child has a developmental disability. You just can’t hold him to the same standards and expectations as the other children. Even when it seems like the child is “acting up” or being defiant, any special needs teacher could tell you that responding to that kind of disobedience in the same way you would any other child won’t work. In fact, it could be very damaging.
The simple truth is you wouldn’t see a teacher act like this in a licensed daycare center. You wouldn’t see any kind of corporal punishment in a licensed daycare center. But we’re not talking about a licensed daycare center; it’s a church-run facility that gets to skirt the law in some very important ways. That’s part of what parents agree to when they send their kids here, whether they realize it or not.
It’s not clear if any lawsuit against the facility would hold up in court. We also don’t know how Brooks will be punished for her assault; she’s been charged with battery. As it stands, though, the teacher, daycare, and church have escaped any kind of punishment.
(Thanks to M for the link)