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AspieUtah
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08 May 2015, 8:39 am

TruthInMedia.com wrote:
A special education teacher at a Georgia elementary school was arrested on Monday for allegedly sticking a young autistic boy in a trash can — head first.

The incident occurred on April 30 at Mount Bethel Elementary School in the suburban sprawl north of Atlanta.

The unidentified second-grade boy was participating in an after-school program at the taxpayer-funded school at the time, local Fox affiliate WAGA-TV reports.

According to an arrest warrant for the teacher, Mary Katherine Pursley, the boy had come in from outside "screaming" about a second boy hassling him in some way. He "wouldn't calm down...."

TruthInMedia.com: "Special Ed Teacher Arrested For Sticking Autistic Boy Head First In Trash Can" (May 7, 2015)
http://www.truthinmedia.com/special-ed- ... -trash-can

She faces first-degree felony charges (5 to 20 years). A little steep, in my opinion. But, absent any prior convictions, she should probably face only a public apology to the student and family, a fine and probation. But, any conviction ends her "career" in education.


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MollyTroubletail
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08 May 2015, 8:45 am

This person is guilty of assault, possibly of aggravated assault, and possibly other charges having to do with assault on a minor by a supervising adult, etc. Chances are slim that they will get away with only an apology. Chances are pretty well ZERO that they will ever be able to teach again.



AspieUtah
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08 May 2015, 9:20 am

MollyTroubletail wrote:
This person is guilty of assault, possibly of aggravated assault, and possibly other charges having to do with assault on a minor by a supervising adult, etc. Chances are slim that they will get away with only an apology. Chances are pretty well ZERO that they will ever be able to teach again.

I sympathize. And, I didn't post the news to challenge the resulting criminal charges. Make no mistake, I believe that the teacher clearly needs to learn the lesson here. But, she apparently didn't act with premeditation. From the news report, at least, it appears that she acted in haste and malice, not with intent to injure. In my mind, that kind of molestation doesn't warrant 5 to 20 years incarceration; no, that used to be given to kidnappers, rapists and murders. The "felony-creep" of the last few decades has resulted in all sorts of former common misdemeanors being prosecuted as felonies when, in the larger scheme of things, they simply don't constitute injurious actions. Add that to a likely fine, restitution to the family, apology and plea deal, and the worst of her charges might go away.

She will lose her career, her teaching licenses, her income, her retirement pension, her standing (whatever that was) within her community and, by virtue of almost certainly being convicted of a lesser felony (with a likely suspended sentence in lieu of incarceration), she will find it difficult to move from her state of residency or find meaningful employment while under probation. Her professional references have all dried up in an instant. If she owns a home, that will probably be foreclosed after some months of nonpayment; same thing with her motor vehicle(s). Her credit reports will reflect all these things. Watch for her to maybe get a job conducting GED and college-entrance tests at a local community college where the students are capable of fighting back.

I amn't excusing her behavior for a moment, it is just that courts have a tendency to tread softly on first offenses. Now, if prior similar instances were to come to light in this matter, well....


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08 May 2015, 11:21 am

If she doesn't have the patience to handle special needs children, then she shouldn't be a special ed teacher in the first place.



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08 May 2015, 11:22 am

Putting a kid head-first into a trashcan? That's unconscionable.


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Moromillas
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08 May 2015, 7:23 pm

The way she treated another human being, a child that was under her care, was just appalling.

This is great news, the guilty party usually gets off Scott-free by saying how difficult AS people are.



PlainsAspie
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08 May 2015, 9:03 pm

She should at least get a few years in prison. A fine, probation, and public apology would be way too light. Abuse is so easy to get away with that when someone is convicted, we need to show unambiguously that we as a society do not tolerate it.



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08 May 2015, 11:41 pm

Sorry, but if that is all she did, I think felony charges are way over kill. It sounds to me more like just a bad judgment call on the part of the teacher. Maybe she should just receive some retraining in how to deal with disciplinary problems, and be moved to another teaching position where she is not dealing with special needs children.

I wouldn't want to work as a teacher, if you can get 20 years in prison just for holding a kid upside down over a trash can. People murder kids and don't get that much time.

If they charged teachers for stuff like this when I was a kid, probably 50% of the teachers would have been in prison.


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Moromillas
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08 May 2015, 11:55 pm

0regonGuy wrote:
Sorry, but if that is all she did, I think felony charges are way over kill. It sounds to me more like just a bad judgment call on the part of the teacher. Maybe she should just receive some retraining in how to deal with disciplinary problems, and be moved to another teaching position where she is not dealing with special needs children.

I wouldn't want to work as a teacher, if you can get 20 years in prison just for holding a kid upside down over a trash can. People murder kids and don't get that much time.

If they charged teachers for stuff like this when I was a lid, probably 50% of the teachers would have been in prison.

Sorry but this is a bit too naive. The criminal justice system doesn't work that way and the punishment needs to fit the crime. No one is allowed to physically assault anyone, let alone stuff them in the trash can. It is assault, and worse still, it is assault of someone that's not only a child, but supposed to be in the persons care.

5 to 20 years is very reasonable, I doubt they'll give her the maximum. You have to remember that, with good behaviour she'll be out on probation in less time, making these numbers very reasonable when considering what she did.

Only 1 year for example, is not at all reasonable, she could be out and about in a months time. Could you imagine being the parent and having your child assaulted by the person that's supposed to be protecting them, only to see them walking about in a months time.



0regonGuy
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09 May 2015, 1:22 am

Moromillas wrote:
0regonGuy wrote:
Sorry, but if that is all she did, I think felony charges are way over kill. It sounds to me more like just a bad judgment call on the part of the teacher. Maybe she should just receive some retraining in how to deal with disciplinary problems, and be moved to another teaching position where she is not dealing with special needs children.

I wouldn't want to work as a teacher, if you can get 20 years in prison just for holding a kid upside down over a trash can. People murder kids and don't get that much time.

If they charged teachers for stuff like this when I was a lid, probably 50% of the teachers would have been in prison.

Sorry but this is a bit too naive. The criminal justice system doesn't work that way and the punishment needs to fit the crime. No one is allowed to physically assault anyone, let alone stuff them in the trash can. It is assault, and worse still, it is assault of someone that's not only a child, but supposed to be in the persons care.

5 to 20 years is very reasonable, I doubt they'll give her the maximum. You have to remember that, with good behaviour she'll be out on probation in less time, making these numbers very reasonable when considering what she did.

Only 1 year for example, is not at all reasonable, she could be out and about in a months time. Could you imagine being the parent and having your child assaulted by the person that's supposed to be protecting them, only to see them walking about in a months time.


Well first you have to prove that an assault occurred. Which I don't see in this case. If she had injured the kid or something, I might feel different. But so far as I can tell, she was just trying to get the kid to quiet down. It doesn't appear the child suffered any physical injuries.

It looks to me that that they might just be wasting a lot of tax payer money on a trial, that will probably not result in a conviction.

This reminds me of those Atlanta teachers that got long prison sentences for that cheating scandal. If you don't like the job teachers are doing, then fire them, but don't send them to prison. Because thats just messed up, and we already have more people in prison then any other country in the world.


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Moromillas
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09 May 2015, 8:49 am

0regonGuy wrote:
Moromillas wrote:
0regonGuy wrote:
Sorry, but if that is all she did, I think felony charges are way over kill. It sounds to me more like just a bad judgment call on the part of the teacher. Maybe she should just receive some retraining in how to deal with disciplinary problems, and be moved to another teaching position where she is not dealing with special needs children.

I wouldn't want to work as a teacher, if you can get 20 years in prison just for holding a kid upside down over a trash can. People murder kids and don't get that much time.

If they charged teachers for stuff like this when I was a lid, probably 50% of the teachers would have been in prison.

Sorry but this is a bit too naive. The criminal justice system doesn't work that way and the punishment needs to fit the crime. No one is allowed to physically assault anyone, let alone stuff them in the trash can. It is assault, and worse still, it is assault of someone that's not only a child, but supposed to be in the persons care.

5 to 20 years is very reasonable, I doubt they'll give her the maximum. You have to remember that, with good behaviour she'll be out on probation in less time, making these numbers very reasonable when considering what she did.

Only 1 year for example, is not at all reasonable, she could be out and about in a months time. Could you imagine being the parent and having your child assaulted by the person that's supposed to be protecting them, only to see them walking about in a months time.


Well first you have to prove that an assault occurred. Which I don't see in this case. If she had injured the kid or something, I might feel different. But so far as I can tell, she was just trying to get the kid to quiet down. It doesn't appear the child suffered any physical injuries.

It looks to me that that they might just be wasting a lot of tax payer money on a trial, that will probably not result in a conviction.

This reminds me of those Atlanta teachers that got long prison sentences for that cheating scandal. If you don't like the job teachers are doing, then fire them, but don't send them to prison. Because thats just messed up, and we already have more people in prison then any other country in the world.


No, that's she should be charged with, assault.

What? Assault of a minor that's supposed to be under your care, isn't the same as, being pressured into cheating test scores for standardized tests.



AspieUtah
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09 May 2015, 9:16 am

Moromillas wrote:
Assault of a minor that's supposed to be under your care, isn't the same as, being pressured into cheating test scores for standardized tests.

You are correct: it isn't. But, neither is it injurious assault; at least as far as the news report described. Legally, assault can be someone wrapping their arms unlawfully around you to prevent you from walking into an area which they don't want you to enter (think of a cinema usher trying to stop unticketed patrons from sneaking in the exit doors). But, doing that isn't injurious despite its illegality.

Law-enforcement officers, when they were called "peace officers," used to turn blind eyes to misdemeanor criminal activity like fist-fighting between two drunk men outside a bar where there was no "victim." They used to respect the free-speech right of citizens to stand on street corners and advocate the murder of certain groups of people as long as they didn't single out a "victim" by name. The officers did these things not because such actions weren't repugnant (they were), but because they believed (as I do) that crimes required victims and victims needed to show injury beyond simple assault.

While I agree that the student in this case was legally assaulted and legally harmed (I would be surprised if the court finds that the trash can was used as an aggravating weapon), I don't believe (perhaps because of a lack of evidence in the news report) that he was legally injured, and thus, eligible to create the kind of legal standing that a criminal act would allow him. It is possible, but not likely, that the student's parents will try to show trauma as a result of the assault, and I might be persuaded by such an attempt. But, the court might have a higher standard of evidence than I do.

This doesn't change my opinion of the teacher, however. Her life has changed permanently even if she avoids incarceration.


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09 May 2015, 4:26 pm

I think the power imbalance here is a big factor. If this was an issue of two complete strangers, I would probably agree 5-20 years is excessive. The abuse of power is was made this so bad.



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10 May 2015, 11:57 am

PlainsAspie wrote:
I think the power imbalance here is a big factor. If this was an issue of two complete strangers, I would probably agree 5-20 years is excessive. The abuse of power is was made this so bad.


I agree but I'd come down harder. A case like this, where the abuse of power caused no quantifiable injury (as far as we know) merits a painless-as-possible public execution. Abuse of power resulting in injury merits severe torture prior to execution.

Of course I'd prefer that positions of power, and thus opportunities to exploit power differentials, simply not exist. But since they do and that doesn't seem to be changing any time soon, zero tolerance for abuse of power seems appropriate.


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12 May 2015, 9:29 pm

My first question is "was the trashcan empty?"

If the trashcan had junk in it, then the psychological trauma would greatly increase (at least for me.)
How would you like it if you got placed head first into waste that includes maybe chewed gum and discarded food, not to mention the other horrid things that could be in there? What about the potential pens and pencils that could inflict rather serious injury?


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