Attorney for Teacher Denies She Abused Students

Attorney for Teacher Denies She Abused Students

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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- The attorney for a former teacher at the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind has denied she abused five hearing-impaired students.

Michael McCoy, an attorney for the Utah Education Association, said caseworkers for the state Division of Child and Family Services based their findings on interviews with the 27-year-old teacher's classroom aides, and, "Some of the people interviewed have an ax to grind."

McCoy described the woman as a gentle person.

He said some classroom aides may have misinterpreted the teacher's actions.

For example, one aide said the teacher kicked a student with leg braces in the shin. McCoy said she was just assisting the student in moving her feet to help her walk.

The teacher is hearing-impaired, which may have caused her to speak loudly, leading some aides to believe she was shouting at students, he said.

DCFS has referred the case to the Weber County Sheriff's Office, which has declined to say whether the woman is being investigated.

The Standard-Examiner is not releasing the teacher's name because she has not been charged with an offense. Efforts to contact the teacher were unsuccessful, the newspaper said Wednesday.

In November, several classroom aides reported to DCFS investigators that the students had been subjected to a range of physical abuse from the teacher on a daily basis since the beginning of the school year.

DCFS concluded in confidential reports provided by parents to the Standard-Examiner that the allegations from the aides had been substantiated.

According to the reports, the teacher repeatedly hit students on the top of their heads, pulled and yanked their arms, causing them to cry, slammed their heads onto their desks if she felt they weren't listening, picked students up and slammed them down in their chairs and restrained students by wrapping her legs around them and not letting them move.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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