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Rochester teacher's aide accused of duct taping student fired, teacher and teacher assistant resign

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May 15, 2019 02:46 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The teacher's aide accused of duct taping a special needs student in School 54 in Rochester was terminated by the Rochester Board of Education Tuesday night. 

That is what RCSD spokesman Carlos Garcia told News10NBC Chief Investigative Reporter Berkeley Brean early Wednesday afternoon: Teacher's aide Latoya Davis was arrested and charged with endangering a child and unlawful imprisonment on May 7. 

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Garcia also said the teacher and her teacher's assistant resigned Tuesday night. Only the teacher's aide has been arrested.

In a statement Tuesday evening, Garcia wrote "it cannot be said enough that the safety and well-being of our students is the highest priority of the Rochester City School district. When district personnel first learned of the incident at School #54 on April 11, an internal investigation was initiated while the Rochester Police Department began its own investigation."

According to the court paper work filed with Davis' arrest, the incident happened inside School 54 on Wednesday, April 10. The paper work says the school principal was not told about it until Thursday, April 11. The school break started on Monday, April 15. Garcia says Davis was placed on administrative leave on May 1. He says the teacher and teacher's assistant were placed on administrative leave on May 10. 

According to court papers obtained by News10NBC Tuesday morning, Davis wrapped duct tape around the wrists, arms, and mouth of a student under the age of 17 in a special education class. The papers say the tape was wrapped around "3 to 5 times." The court papers say it happened near the end of class on April 10.

The court papers say scissors had to be used to cut the tape around the student's arms. 

In a statement attached to the complaint, the teacher said Ms. Davis asked her for tape. The teacher said in her statement, "a few seconds later I looked over and saw Latoya Davis wrapping duct tape around (the student's) wrist and forearms." 

The teacher's statement said she was "shocked by what I saw." She went on to say Davis "then cut an additional piece of tape and put it onto (the student's) mouth, covering his mouth." She then said Davis "ripped the tape off (the student's) mouth." 

The teacher said in the statement that she contacted a school official the following day and then had a meeting with the principal. 

News10NBC went by the home of Ms. Davis Tuesday afternoon but no one came to the door. 

News10NBC asked the city school district for a statement and an explanation into what kind of restraints can be used on a student and when they can be used. Garcia says RCSD follows the state guidelines. 

Section 8 NYCRR §§19.5(a) and 100.2(l) in New York State education law says corporal punishment is prohibited. The law does say the use of reasonable physical force is allowed for the following purposes:
- to protect oneself from physical injury;
- to protect another pupil or teacher or any person from physical injury;
- to protect the property of the school, school district or others; or
- to restrain or remove a pupil whose behavior is interfering with the orderly exercise and performance of school or school district functions, powers and duties, if that pupil has refused to comply with a request to refrain from further disruptive acts.

Nowhere in the law does it specify what kind of restraints can be used. 

Credits

Berkeley Brean

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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