Former CMS teaching assistant gets jail time for slapping boy with autism

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A former Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools assistant teacher has been convicted of striking a teen with autism.

William Gates pleaded guilty Thursday to assaulting a handicapped person, which is a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail.


The incident happened in November 2015 and was recorded on video by a graduate student doing research, but it was not reported until the student reviewed his video 10 months later, in September 2016.

The graduate student reported what he had seen to CMS officials and CMS police.

Gates was fired within several days, and the teacher in the classroom, Caroline Borkey, resigned two weeks later.

Police charged Borkey with failing to report the assault. Her court date is pending.


The video, which lasts several minutes, shows the 15-year-old boy clearly upset in the classroom.

(Click PLAY below to watch the incident that was captured on video)

Borkey tells him several times to be quiet and sit down, and three times goes over to force him into his seat,
but he continues to cry.

Then Gates walks over and said, "You know what I want, give me that back, boy."

Gates then pushes the boy toward the back of the classroom, lifts up the boy’s shirt and raises his hand over his head. The camera on Borkey's desk suddenly turns away and a loud slap is heard.

When it turns back moments later, Gates appears to be smiling and says "You have been branded."

"We had to stop at the video, my mom started crying," said Adolfo Pena-Herrera, the boy's older brother.

He said his brother cannot speak and had no way of telling anyone what had happened.

Pena-Herrera said he believes it wasn't the only time his brother was hit in the classroom, and that it has changed his behavior dramatically.

"He has become aggressive and even violent toward my mother," he said.

He said he wanted people to see the video so they would know what may be going on in the classroom.

"We want to let people know that this is happening and there are flaws in the educational system.
There are flaws."

CMS released a statement Friday saying they take any cases involving the safety of students extremely seriously, and act quickly when they come up.

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