ROCKDALE COUNTY, Ga. - School officials in Rockdale County have launched an investigation into allegations of employee misconduct against two special education teachers accused of locking a student with autism in a bathroom for hours as a form of punishment.
A district spokesperson confirmed officials are reviewing footage of the incident that took place at Davis Middle School on Aug. 3. Parent Jennifer Akins told FOX 5 her 13-year-old son Jordan, who is non-verbal, hasn’t been the same since he came home from school two weeks ago.
"His behaviors have been different since that Thursday," she said. "I just felt numb knowing that he had to go through this, and he couldn’t tell us."
Akins said she and her husband were disturbed the following day to learn what her son’s teachers did in response him having what the school’s principal described to her as a "meltdown."
"He got up and was throwing food, and then she said the para-professional stood up and told him, ‘Ok, you’re not having a good day, so you’re going in the bathroom,'" she recalled of the conversation. "She said that he was drug in the bathroom, the bathroom door was closed, there was a chair put in front of the door, and a student was advised to sit in the chair."
Akins said when school leaders initially notified them about what happened, she was first told Jordan was placed in the bathroom for five minutes, and then 20 minutes to calm him down. But later, the mother said she was told footage of the incident revealed it was much longer than that.
"To know that our son was placed in a bathroom for almost two hours … devastated," she said. "This could’ve gone bad. It could’ve been you calling me telling me our son hurt himself because you placed him in a bathroom," Akins added.
In response to questions about the incident, a Rockdale County Schools spokesperson issued the following statement:
"Rockdale County Public Schools expects all employees to conduct themselves professionally and ethically in providing a positive teaching and learning environment for students and staff. We will adhere to personnel and student privacy laws in this matter which do not allow us to comment further at this time."
The Akins’ said that’s the same expectation they had for the teachers they entrusted with their child’s safety.
"My kid or nobody else kid deserves to be in the bathroom for two hours. I mean, [they do] not even have to be on the spectrum, period," Jordan’s father Rodney Akins told FOX 5.
The Akins said they’ve taken their son out of school for now, and they are supposed to meet with school officials to review video of the incident Thursday. In the meantime, they’ve obtained legal representation and are in the process of filing a report with Rockdale County authorities.