Family plans to sue charter school after teacher kicks 11-year-old student

- The family of an 11-year-old boy, who was kicked at least twice by his teacher, plans to sue the school, according to their attorney.

"A lawsuit is something is something that is most definitely possible at this point," said Charlotte attorney Walter Bowers with the law firm Wooden-Bowers.

Disturbing surveillance video obtained exclusively by FOX 46 shows Helena Hunter, a special education reading teacher at Cabarrus Charter Upper School, kicking sixth grader Garrett Harris as he is lying helpless on the floor. 

The incident happened on Dec. 4 but is just now coming to light.

"Furious," said his mother, Sabrina Berry. I can't curse but I would like to. It pisses you."

Garrett, who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, says the teacher became enraged when he "touched" her hair. A school official says he was pulling it and screaming.

"She threw me to the ground," said Garrett. "And started kicking me" between five and 10 times.

FOX 46 went to the school to get answers but Principal Alicia McCree would not come outside. A worker at the school, who approached the reporter, said "she's very busy."

Instead, a spokesperson said in a statement that Hunter, who was hired in August, resigned.

"We do not tolerate any form inappropriate discipline or actions with any of our students," said spokesperson Colleen Reynolds.

Reynolds says staff are "highly trained" to deal with students who have special needs.

"I would not be familiar with any type of training that would instruct a teacher to kick a student while the student was on the floor," said Bowers.

Bowers, who is representing the family, plans to file a lawsuit against the school for more than $10,000. He says Garrett suffered emotional distress and unspecified injuries. 

He also wants educators at the charter school to be retrained. 

"I could not think of a scenario in which a young man deserves to be kicked as he was laying on the floor," said Bowers. "The video makes it clear this young student was not a threat to her. He was lying on the floor in a defensive position."

Berry says the school never notified her about the incident. Instead, she says she found out two days later from her son.

According to Reynolds, school administrators found out after Berry informed them, and then began an immediate investigation. During that time, Hunter resigned.

However, Bowers alleges the school knew about the incident the day it happened. He says Garrett reported what happened his guidance counselor.

Concord police continue to investigate Hunter's actions. 

Reynolds declined to comment on the pending lawsuit. 

 

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