A school principal was terminated from the Walter Hill Elementary School in Tennessee after allegedly dragging a special education student through the school grounds. The Rutherford County Board of Education announced on Thursday that Helen Campbell has been fired from her position at the school for unprofessional conduct.
According to Fox News, Campbell allegedly dragged the special needs student through the school at the length of approximately two football fields in 2019. In a statement from Director of Schools Bill Spurlock, the student reportedly failed to comply with a request from Campbell which triggered the principal to ask another teacher, Bonnie Marlar, to assist in implementing disciplinary action. They both dragged the student through the school’s hallways and brought him to the administration office. The boy was dragged a total of 570 feet, with his shirt riding up his back as he skidded through the hallway with his bare skin dragging up against the floor.
The initial incident took place on Nov. 4, 2019, when an elementary special education student didn’t comply with a request from Walter Hill Elementary principal Helen Campbell, according to Fox 17.
Child abuse charges were filed against both Campbell and Marlar but were later dismissed by a judge. The individuals were suspended from their jobs at the elementary school, according to the report.
COVER-UP: On top of her termination, she has also been accused of attempting to destroy evidence and deleting security video footage from the school’s camera containing the events that took place during the incident. Campbell entered a guilty plea and was ordered to be placed on probation for the misdemeanor.
Bill Spurlock, Director Of Schools, said during a Rutherford County Schools board meeting on Thursday that Campbell’s charges, which range from child abuse to the destruction of government property after allegedly attempting to delete security footage of the incident, meet the definition of unprofessional conduct and are grounds for dismissal.
Campbell pleaded no contest to the charges of destruction of government records and neglect and will complete probation through judicial diversion to dismiss the charges, according to the Daily News Journal.
The report states that the boy who was allegedly dragged through the hallway had autism. Laura Heath is currently serving as the interim principal.
Kate Kasuboski, who is the coordinator of special education at the school district, said that she “did not see any behavior that constitutes an emergency situation,” which would have necessitated the child being restrained. She also added that “dragging a student” by the lengths of “almost two football fields” is “not a proper restraint.”
One board member, Tammy Sharp, wasn’t fully on-board with the idea of voting to terminate Campbell, and said that she’s a “phenomenal principal,” and criticized the board for not getting her side of the story.
The school board voted to recommend Campbell’s termination by a vote of 5-2.