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Ohio parents who "bugged" disabled daughter to prove abuse get settlement from school

GENERIC "A Tennessee middle school allowed security cameras to film children undressing in locker rooms and then stored the images on a computer accessible through the Internet, according to a lawsuit filed by a group of angry parents." AP / CBS

AP / CBS
(CBS/AP) COLUMBUS, Ohio - The parents of a developmentally disabled Ohio teen who hid a recording device on the girl to prove she was being bullied by school officials received a $300,000 settlement from her district.

Kourtney Bacus and her boyfriend, who are raising the 14-year-old, say they bugged the girl for four days after their concerns about "mental and emotional abuse" by a teacher and aide were ignored by officials in the Miami Trace school district.

The resulting recording of aide Kelly Chaffins and teacher Christie Wilt reveals the two talking about the girl's weight and making derogatory comments about her character and the character of her mother and the boyfriend.

"Are you that damn dumb? Are you that dumb?" Chaffins said to the girl. "Oh, my God. You are such a liar...It's no wonder you don't have friends. No wonder nobody likes you. Because you lie, cheat ... steal."

In another recording, Chaffins asks the girl if she does chores and when she says no, Chaffins responds "Don't you find that a little ridiculous? ... How you gonna do a job? ...You should be embarrassed. I just am in awe. Makes you worthless."

District superintendent Dan Roberts told the Washington Court House Record Herald that he acknowledged there was a problem.

"The persons involved fell short of our mission," Roberts said. "We're sincerely sorry for that and we will work very hard to never let that happen again. We need to provide proper training and restate our expectations of how we treat children so that this never happens again."

Chaffins has resigned and gave up her educational aide permit, which means she is prohibited from getting another job as an Ohio teacher's aide. The State Board of Education suspended Wilt's license as an intervention specialist for one year because of "conduct unbecoming to the teaching profession," though she can avoid that suspension if she remains in good standing with the district and completes eight hours of training focused on bullying awareness and reporting child abuse.

Fayette County prosecutors did not pursue criminal charges in the case.

  • Crimesider Staff

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