Thursday, January 28, 2010

Akron school aide put on paid leave after allegedly dragging disabled student down the hall by his ankles


AKRON, Ohio -- Akron school leaders placed a school aide with a troubled past on paid leave following allegations that he dragged a child with severe disabilities through a hallway by his ankles.

Ingram Myers, 50, attended a disciplinary hearing Wednesday morning to discuss the incident that occurred at Ellet High School.

The student, who suffers from severe autism, cannot speak and functions at the level of a toddler, according to his mother. He fell to the hallway floor Jan. 14, and that's when Myers allegedly dragged him by his ankles 50-100 feet back to his classroom.

"I first broke down and cried and then by the time I got to the school, I was angry," said Denise Powers-Fabian, the student's mother.

Myers is on paid leave pending an investigation by the Akron Schools, Summit County MRDD, and Akron Police. He was first hired by the Akron Schools in 1996 as a educational assistant.

Channel 3's Eric Mansfield reviewed Myers' personnel record and found that this isn't the first time he has been investigated for injuring a student.

In October, Myers gave a peanut butter cookie to a student with peanut allergies. A school report indicated the student had "trouble breathing and bumps and red blotches on his skin." The school nurse then administered an epi-pen until paramedics arrived to transport the child to the hospital. Myers told investigators that he forgot and was "very sorry."

Myers also was accused of striking a student at Kenmore High School in 2004. As part of the investigation, he was given the option to transfer to another school and chose Ellet.

"I really want to see that this aide is not only removed from the school district but from his place of employment," Powers-Fabian said. "Something should be done criminally so that they're something on his record so that he cannot work with this population in a school district."

Myers did not return calls seeking comment.

Kevin McGee, spokesman for the Summit County MRDD, said this case needs to be thoroughly investigated.

"There is no tolerance for abuse or neglect and we stand ready to investigate any allegations like this regardless of whether it's a provider or services, or care, a teacher or teacher's aid," he said. "We need people to recognize that abuse-neglect happens to people with developmental disabilities both children and adults and we need them to report it."

"As a parent, it's very upsetting," said David James, superintendent. "Allegations that the kid was dragged down the hallway. That's a very serious allegation and it also could have ramifications for this person's professional license with the dept. of education."