CALDWELL COUNTY, N.C. - A mother in Caldwell County is outraged after learning a teacher accused of putting her special needs son in a box is back in the classroom.
The teacher was suspended after the incident at Hudson Middle School but was transferred to another school this week.
Joy Amatuccio’s 14-year-old son, who suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was 1, has been confined to a wheelchair with severe disabilities most of his life. Amatuccio said Jacob's teacher at Hudson Middle School put him in a large cardboard box during class.
She didn't find out until another parent showed her a photo several weeks later.
“The teachers are above the law,” Amatuccio said. “I feel if someone else had done something like this they could be arrested. Child Protective Services would be involved.”
Instead, the school district suspended the teacher, Renee Chandler, for 13 days but reinstated her this week, transferring her to West Caldwell High School. Some parents there were upset by the news.
“I think she should be fired,” mother Tammy Bryant said. “Anybody to treat a child like that is ridiculous. They should be put in a box them self.”
“You don't even put an animal in a box so therefore I don't feel the teacher should be in any school,” mother Sandra Kincaid said.
The school district said it doesn’t think the teacher was trying to discipline or punish the child by putting him in the box. It also said Chandler must undergo additional training, but Amatuccio doesn't believe that's enough.
“The most appropriate thing I can say to her is, ‘Admit where you are wrong, you have no right to appeal this, and move on somewhere else,’” Amatuccio said.
She has started a petition to have the teacher removed on a Facebook page dedicated to her son, called “Justice for Jacob.”
Amatuccio said once she finishes with the petition drive, she plans on taking the names to the Caldwell County School Board.
A different teacher is now teaching Jacob at Hudson Middle School.