Daily Archives: March 6, 2012

The parents of a former Fulton County Schools student have filed a $10.5 million lawsuit claiming that their disabled son was abused by two of his teachers. Ronald and Arthalia Hatcher of Roswell say their son faced numerous acts of abuse while attending Hopewell Middle School and Roswell High. Their son, Aaron Hatcher, who died nearly a year ago at age 18, suffered from muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy. He could not talk or walk on his own. The Hatchers say one teacher dumped their child out of his wheelchair and another allegedly forced the boy to wear a makeshift neckbrace so he could look her in the eyes. “I went to the doctor and got a letter to tell them to stop this,” said Ronald Hatcher, a gospel singer. “They would not listen to me. He would have to sit a certain way in order for him to breathe. Several times he would go to the hospital from school cold blue.” Fulton County Schools officials said they had not yet received a copy of the lawsuit, which accused Roswell High teacher Katherine Dorn Durden, and Hopewell Middle School teacher Melanie Pickens of assault and battery, false imprisonment and intentionally inflicting emotional distress on their son. State and Fulton investigators found that Pickens, whose teacher’s license was revoked by the state, abused numerous students in her care, including Aaron Hatcher. The lawsuit also accuses the district of negligent hiring and retention of the employees when complaints about them were raised. Samantha Evans, spokeswoman for Fulton Schools would not discuss the allegations. Susan Hale, another Fulton Schools spokeswoman, said Friday that Dorn Durden, a special education teacher at Roswell since 2008, is not under investigation for abuse because without seeing the lawsuit there is “no basis to launch any investigation.” Evans did say, however, Fulton Schools police has completed its investigation against Pickens and has turned their files over to the Fulton district attorney for possible prosecution. “The gathering of documents, and the interviews that the school police completed have all been turned over … ,” Evans said. “Superintendent Avossa is … adamant that no one in this district is going to mistreat kids.” Hatcher’s parents say Pickens humiliated their son, passed gas in his face and overturned his wheelchair. They say they did not learn about the abuse until just before his death. The lawsuit is one of several filed against the district that names Pickens and her alleged mistreatment of their special education kids. The lawsuits say the district failed to investigate the complaints against the teacher even when they were made aware of the abuse in 2006. The district last month was ordered to pay for the private education of one student who was allegedly abused by Pickens. Soon after Avossa became superintendent, he strengthened the mandatory reporting of abuse policy to prevent similar problems. Now any Fulton Schools employee with knowledge of the mistreatment of a child must report it to police. “It’s even stronger than what the state requires us to do,” Evans said. Ronald Hatcher, however, said more most be done to give his son justice. “I want both teachers arrested for what happened,” Hatcher said. “Losing Aaron has really torn the family apart.” (by D. Aileen Dodd, via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Family of special education student files lawsuit

http://www.youtube.com/watch/?v=-Zz3K7Pt0rE Dog playing piano and singing (by lonnie9991) Cute.  The bassets (including Alice) in my family don’t play our piano, but they do sing along to certain songs and commercials.  Even Gretchen gets into some songs (i.e. Pocketful of Sunshine), so seeing a musical hound isn’t really surprising. (Source: http://www.youtube.com/)