An elementary school teacher has come under fire for filming and taunting an autistic boy who became stuck in a chair rather than helping him. Nicole McVey reached for her cell phone when the 11-year-old boy, who has Asperger’s syndrome, became caught through a chair at Oaktree Elementary School in Goodrich, Michigan last November.
The footage shows that, as he struggled to free himself, McVey asked him how he became caught in the chair and whether he wanted to get Tasered.
The school’s principal, Michael Ellis, was also in the room at the time and can be heard chipping in.
When McVey tells the boy that a maintenance worker is on the way to help, Ellis says: ‘It’s not really an emergency in their book.’
The maintenance worker then arrived to remove the child from the chair.
Patrick Greenfelder, an attorney for the boy’s parents, told ABC12 that McVey then showed the video to the class and Ellis emailed it to other staff members and some friends.
‘You hear of bullying by other students and other kids in class, I have had cases like this before, but I have never had a case with teachers and administrators bullying,’ Greenfelder said.
It is not clear why McVey recorded the incident. Her attorney has advised her not to comment.
After administrators saw the video, the Goodrich School Board voted to accept Ellis’ resignation and seek to fire McVey by filing tenure charges.
But the decision has upset some in the Goodrich school community, and numerous parents attended a board meeting on Monday with signs in support of McVey.
‘I know she is supported by the community, the other teachers, the staff, I have learned a lot from her and I support her fully,’ said Leanne Ruediger, a substitute teacher whose children attend the school.
‘I believe that Nicole’s intentions and motivations are always in the right place.’
Another parent added: ‘There’s no way that Mrs McVey ever bullied any child in that class.’
They added that the word ‘Taser’ does not refer to a stun gun in the classroom context, but when you take two fingers and use them in a tickling motion on someone’s side.
The parents of the boy said they were upset by the support she was getting, and said they did not like the use of the word Taser.
‘Our son did nothing wrong, but yet this seems to be another case of blaming the victim,’ they added.
They are considering a lawsuit.
McVey is on paid administrative leave while private tenure hearings debating her future at the school take place.