Teacher Placed on Leave After Student in Wheelchair Falls Off Curb - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Teacher Placed on Leave After Student in Wheelchair Falls Off Curb



    Injury of Special Needs Student Sparks Outrage

    The injury of a 15-year-old special needs student in a wheelchair sparked outrage on social media and disciplinary action against the teacher who was supposed to watching her. NBC10's Drew Smith has the story. (Published Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015)

    A Bucks County teacher is facing disciplinary action after a special needs student was badly injured, causing outrage on social media.

    The 15-year-old girl, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, was attending a Bucks County Intermediate Unit (BCIU) class at Pennsbury High School East in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11. While her class was outside, the teen’s wheelchair fell off the curb of a sidewalk causing her to land face down on the ground. The girl suffered several abrasions to her face, arms and knees as well as a cut lip that required stitches. The girl’s father told the Bucks County Courier she missed three weeks of class due to her injuries.

    After the incident, photos of the bloodied and bruised teen were shared on social media sparking outrage and even a Facebook page with over 5,000 followers demanding justice.

    A BCIU spokesperson said in a released statement that supervisory staff immediately launched an investigation and a report was filed. The spokesperson also said disciplinary action was taken against the teacher who was caring for the girl at the time of the accident.

    “Per BCIU protocol, the teacher who was assigned to the student was placed on administrative leave, and as a result of information received during the investigation; termination proceedings against the teacher are now in progress,” the spokesperson wrote.

    The spokesperson apologized for the incident and stated BCIU is cooperating with both the Pennsbury School District and police in the investigation.

    “Our thoughts are with the student and the student’s family during this time,” she wrote. “We are hopeful that the student makes a complete recovery. Supervisory staff have talked with the family several times and our Executive Director met with the parents to express the Intermediate Unit’s heartfelt concern. We will continue to keep both the district and the family fully informed.”

    NBC10 reached out to the girl’s parents who now have a lawyer. Under his advice, they chose not to comment on the incident.